On TV: All Michael Jackson, All the Time

Posted on June 27, 2009

After Michael Jackson died, tv stations have rushed to air tributes to the King of Pop. In fact, it's pretty much been wall to wall Michael Jackson coverage lately.
BET's Sunday night "BET Awards" will now take on a different tone, as the kudofest opens with a tribute to Jackson. It took the death of Jackson, meanwhile, for MTV to do something it hasn't done in years: Run music videos all day long. The cabler, which came of age during the "Thriller" era, started pre-empting its programming Thursday night with wall-to-wall Michael Jackson music videos, concert performances and other footage, and continued to do so right up until 6 p.m. on Friday.

After that, the net premiered a new hour-long special, "A Celebration of Michael Jackson on MTV." Then at 7 p.m., it planned to run a repeat of "Randy Jackson's America's Best Dance Crew" that featured all Jackson hits. MTV2 also planned to continue running Jackson-themed programming.

ABC planned another "20/20" tribute on Friday night at 9 p.m., "Michael Jackson: The Man and His Music," anchored by Elizabeth Vargas. "20/20" also planned more Jackson coverage in its normal 10 p.m. slot. Over at NBC, the net's "Dateline NBC" put together a new special, "Michael Jackson: The King of Pop," to run Friday at 10 p.m., behind a repeat of the two-hour Fawcett doc "Farrah's Story." CBS planned no Jackson special on Friday. Fox plans to pay tribute by airing its first-ever "American Idol" repeat on Monday, June 29. That episode, which aired earlier this year, featured the competish's 13 finalists as they performed songs from Jackson's catalog. MyNetwork TV has scheduled a rebroadcast of the World Music Awards, featuring a tribute to Jackson, for Wednesday.

Other just-announced specials include CNN's "Michael Jackson: Man in the Mirror," which will run several times over the weekend, starting on Saturday at 8 p.m. TV Land plans to run the 1992 miniseries "The Jacksons: An American Dream" on Sunday at 2 p.m. And E! Entertainment TV has lined up the news special "Michael & Farrah: Lost Icons" on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., and the special "Michael Jackson" on Wednesday at 10 p.m. It will also run the singer's "True Hollywood Story" edition throughout the weekend.
TV execs believe that the onslaught of Michael Jackson programming will substantially boost viewership this weekend.
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