Jungle

A&E captures Jackson fallout

A&E Network is moving forward with a docu-series chronicling the Jackson brothers' now-altered plan to mount a series of Jackson 5 reunion shows.

The project, which was in the works with L.A.-based Point Seven Entertainment long before Michael Jackson's death on June 25, will now depict the impact of Michael's death on the extended Jackson clan.

A&E had planned to do at least an hourlong special focusing on the brothers' plans to mark the 40th anniversary of the group's breakthrough with its first Motown recordings.

The Jackson 5 reunion shows were to have coincided with Michael Jackson's big comeback push with his 50-concert stand at London's 02 Arena, which had been skedded to begin last month. Michael Jackson was to have taken part in the reunion shows with brothers Marlon, Tito, Jermaine and Jackie, and he appears in the footage shot for the special from January through early June of this year.

Point Seven's deal with A&E called for the special to serve as a backdoor pilot for a series, and the cabler was already starting to discuss it as a series before Michael's death. Production on the special wrapped six days before Michael's death, according to Point Seven CEO Jodi Gomes.

Gomes is a longtime friend of the Jacksons and a veteran producer who previously ran Magic Johnson's TV production shingle. She said the brothers gave serious consideration to tabling the show, but they recently decided to move forward in order to use it "as an outlet to communicate with their fans," Gomes said.

"The Jacksons have been courted to do a reality series for the past three to five years, but the timing was never right," Gomes told Daily Variety. "We got together last summer and started to plot out the 40th anniversary plans, and we decided it was time to do a show. But we made sure to go to a network where we could make Emmy-worthy TV."
More than one option

With Michael's death, a major focus of the hourlong series will be the impact of the pop legend's death on his brothers and their families, Gomes said. It will also feature footage of the individual brothers in solo live perfs, in the recording studio and possibly some group reunion shows to come.

A&E and Point Seven have not determined the number of episodes for the show. The initial footage was shot mostly in L.A. but subsequent material will also be shot in Las Vegas and a few places overseas, Gomes said. Filming is expected to begin next month.

Gomes and Lori Hannah will serve as exec producers along with the Jackson brothers. A&E has not yet set an airdate for the series.

Point Seven's other TV productions include the comedy showcase "Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza," which has aired on Comedy Central, Showtime and TBS.

Peter Oberth
News by Peter Oberth
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