A&E's new Jacksons reality series may test how far siblings can parlay death of King of Pop
News that cable channel A&E plans to convert an hourlong documentary on the Jacksons into a full-fledged reality series may test the notion of just how far Michael Jackson's famous siblings can go in producing showbiz projects which may profit from his death.
A&E and the family may emphasize that they began filming when few people expected the 50-year-old superstar's mortality would be an issue.
But since Jackson's June 25 death and recent news that it has been ruled a homicide, interest in anything connected his life has exploded. With 4-million albums sold post-death -- according to the Huffington Post -- his siblings are in a precarious position.
Sister Latoya Jackson (left) won't be doing ABC's Dancing with the Stars, but she is appearing on the network's newsmagazine 20/20 on Sept. 11 and is guest hosting The View next month -- among several celebs filling the show's fourth chair amid Elisabeth Hasslebeck's maternity leave.
“I can’t see myself putting myself into there right now, dancing every single day when I’m still trying to find out what exactly happened to my brother,” LaToya told Access Hollywood about not joining ABC's dance competition -- outlining the difficulty sibling performers will have in taking advantage of new opportunities which may only be coming their way because their ultra-famous brother died so suddenly.
The issue of how much their connection to the King of Pop benefits his siblings' careers has always been a sticky one for the family. The interest in past Jacksons tours has often hinged on whether Michael was participating (indeed, it remains unclear whether Michael Jackson will appear in the A&E show; The Hollywood Reporter has said he will not).
And some of Michael Jackson's classic tunes -- Heartbreak Hotel (renamed This Place Hotel in deference to Elvis Presley) and a duet with Mick Jagger, State of Shock -- remain underappreciated because they appeared on Jacksons albums.
With sister Janet Jackson as the only sibling to carve out a longrunning career on her own, these questions will surface again. If LaToya become a judge on American Idol or Jermaine gets a family series on VH1, will the ghost of brother Michael taint the proceedings too much?
This is a question I fear will be tested a fair amount in the weeks and months to come.