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John Travolta joins FX's O.J. Simpson miniseries

John Travolta speaks during the Oscars on Sunday,

John Travolta speaks during the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Credit: AP / John Shearer

The last time John Travolta had a regular role on a TV show, he was a "sweat hog" named Vinnie Barbarino. So, yes, Wednesday's announcement that he'll join the FX miniseries "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson" as Simpson attorney Robert Shapiro isn't merely news, but a little bit of TV history too. ("Welcome Back, Kotter" ended 37 years ago, by the way, which in TV terms is deep history.)

In a brief statement -- this was also announced at the TV critics tour in Pasadena, which started Wednesday morning -- FX said he'll "portray Shapiro, a key member of O.J. Simpson’s 'Dream Team' during the sensational murder trial. He will also serve as a producer of the 10-part miniseries."  

No air date has been set, but it's expected later this year.

Produced by "American Horror Story's" Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, this new miniseries franchise will dramatize various crimes and their aftermath.

This installment stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian and Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark. It features a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski ("The People v. Larry Flynt") and is based on the book, "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson,"  by Jeffrey Toobin.

Per FX, it will "[explore] the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defense shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt."

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