ABC, NBC Both Expand Jackson Coverage
Viewer alert: Channel surfers on Monday will see a whole lot of Michael Jackson.
ABC and NBC have scheduled competing two-hour specials on the beleaguered musician, reports Variety (which calls the evening "Night of the Jackos").
ABC will actually be rerunning its hugely popular (27 million viewers the first time around) Feb. 6 documentary, "Living with Michael Jackson," on Monday from 9 to 11 p.m. as part of a full night of Jackson programming.
From 8 to 9 p.m., the network will air a special "PrimeTime" focusing on the latest controversies surrounding Jackson, 44, which reportedly include a possible re-opening by investigators of the star's 1993 case of alleged sexual misconduct involving a minor.
In response to its rival network, says Variety, NBC has decided to expand, from one hour to two, "Michael Jackson Unmasked" for a special edition of "Dateline NBC" to air from 9 to 11 p.m.
"Michael Jackson is the ultimate traffic accident," NBC president of entertainment Jeff Zucker told no less than The New York Times for its Friday editions. "People can't take their eyes off him."
Speaking to Variety, however, Zucker sounded slightly more temperate, saying that expanding "Dateline" was less a reaction to ABC's actions and more a defense maneuver against FOX, whose "Joe Millionaire" finale is expected to conquer Monday's ratings.
Not that FOX is being left out of the Jackson mix: On Thursday, Feb. 20, that network will air Jackson's two-hour rebuttal to "Living with Michael Jackson," called, "Michael Jackson Take 2: The Interview They Wouldn't Show You."
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