ABC News Announces Two-Hour Primetime Television Event On Michael Jackson's Life And Legacy
ABC News presents a two-hour prime-time television event about Michael Jackson - exploring the King of Pop's life and legacy - from his complicated childhood to the record-breaking comeback concerts, "This Is It," that he didn't live to perform. Ahead of the 10th anniversary of Jackson's untimely passing, ABC News profiles one of the most influential artists of all time through interviews with the people he knew alongside never-before-seen video from interviews he did with ABC News anchors Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer. The special also includes new interviews with Derek "Cooley" Jackson, one of the dancers who taught Jackson how to moonwalk; Navi, the world-famous Jackson impersonator who was hired as his decoy at public events; and Lisa Staub, the tour operator who was in front of his house on the day he died. "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" airs on Thursday, May 24 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.
Jackson evolved from the shy, chubby-cheeked boy fronting the Jackson 5 band to become a solo music superstar, captivating the world with his otherworldly dance moves and unique style of showmanship. He would create the biggest-selling album of all time, breaking records and racial barriers throughout his career. Rising to greatness during the height of the MTV era, Jackson was an avatar of the celebrity age.
While he was beloved by a cadre of super fans, Jackson's private and public life became a spectacle. It was said that he existed in an isolated state of loneliness, surrounded by a revolving door of managers, advisors and lawyers. His desire for normalcy existed amid news and gossip stories of his changing physical appearance, abusive childhood, ongoing lawsuits, erratic behavior and molestation accusations.
In his later days, Jackson turned into a doting father of three children that he adored. While some say he wanted to perform again for them, others insisted he needed to tour because of his immense fiscal challenges - a result perhaps of uncontrolled spending, legal woes and complicated and convoluted financial dealings.
On March 5, 2009, Jackson announced "This Is It" - a series of 10 "final curtain call" performances that would be the last time the world would see the man who had touched the hearts of millions. Tickets quickly sold out and the number of concert dates soon ballooned to 50. But behind the scenes, the stress of a comeback was taking its toll on Jackson. Many of the those involved in the production grew concerned about his health and ability to perform so many shows; and as the start date was pushed back, few knew just how addicted he had become to drugs. With only 18 days left before the first performance, Jackson passed away due to a combination of drugs in his system, most notably Propofol.
The special is produced by ABC News. David Sloan is senior executive producer. Muriel Pearson is executive producer.