ABC News is being accused of checkbook journalism after landing the first sit-down interview with Joe Jackson following the recent death of his pop superstar son, Michael. Segments of a 45-minute interview with the Jackson family patriarch have already aired on ABC's "Nightline" and "Good Morning America," but the bulk of the interview will air tonight on the network as part of its summer series "Primetime Family Secrets."
Mediabistro.com's "TVNewser" blog about the broadcast industry reported Friday that the exclusive interview came after ABC News paid $200,000 for video shot over the last year. On Monday, details of the footage and deal emerged from Xonger Global Entertainment Network, which produced it, and APA, the Beverly Hills talent agency hired to negotiate licenses with domestic and international buyers. Xonger was granted intimate access last year to the Jackson family to film a reality series centered around patriarch Joe Jackson as he tried to reunite his sons for a tour, said executive producer Lisa Love.
Over 40 hours of footage were filmed, following the Jacksons in their Encino estate as well as traveling around the country over a six-month period. Michael Jackson was not involved in the project, and Love would not name other family members who participated. She also said the company had not tried to sell the series or any footage before the singer's death on June 25.