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Media gear up to cover Michael Jackson's memorial service at Staples Center

July 07, 2009|Maria Elena Fernandez

Just as in life, the King of Pop in death is poised to command nearly unprecedented media coverage.

Six days before he was to begin a 50-date comeback tour in London, Michael Jackson will instead be eulogized at a massive memorial service today at Staples Center. All the major networks and a host of cable news and entertainment channels, including CNN, MSNBC, E! Entertainment, TV Guide Network and TV One, plan to carry the event live at 10 a.m.

Here's a brief rundown of the coverage:

* MSNBC will begin its coverage at 8 a.m., with Chris Jansing anchoring. Fox News' Shepard Smith will anchor the day, beginning at 9 a.m. Meanwhile, CNN will start at 9 a.m. with Anderson Cooper, Larry King and Don Lemon as anchors. (CNN will carry the service on sister networks HLN, CNN International and CNN en Espanol as well.)

* On ABC, "Good Morning America" will air a special edition from Los Angeles and Charlie Gibson will anchor "Remembering Michael Jackson" with "Nightline" anchor Martin Bashir when the service begins. At 9 p.m., Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters will co-anchor a special edition of "20/20," reporting on the highlights of the service. "Primetime: Family Secrets" at 10 p.m. will focus on Jackson's children.

* CBS' "The Early Show" will broadcast live from Staples, with Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith anchoring. Katie Couric will anchor the "CBS Evening News" at 6:30 p.m. and "48 Hours" at 10 p.m., both from Staples.

* NBC's "Today" will air a "split edition," with host Meredith Vieira in Los Angeles. Live coverage of the services, anchored by Brian Williams, will begin at 10 a.m. Williams also will anchor "Nightly News" from Staples Center. At 10 p.m., Lester Holt will anchor a special edition of "Dateline."

The event's ratings are expected to be record-breaking, according to television analysts. More than 1.6 million people registered over the weekend for a chance at one of 17,500 free tickets to the service and Jackson's death has dominated social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

For those without access to television, there are still options. KCRW-FM (89.9) will broadcast the event live and it will also be streamed online on several news sites, including latimes.com and www.hulu.com.

The service will also be seen in 88 movie theaters across 31 states, including Grauman's Chinese in Hollywood.

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maria.elena.fernandez@latimes.com

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