Virtual Jacko – Not So Wacko!

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
The power of television is sometimes described as, “… man enthralled with his own image.” The incredible popularity of voyeuristic television seems to bear this out. Now, mix in a little Shadenfraude and you’ve got a perfect recipe for big ratings … so hope the executives at E! Entertainment Television.

There are no cameras allowed at Michael Jackson’s trial, E! and BSkyB are teaming up to produce, “The Michael Jackson Trial” – a reenactment of the trial using transcripts and look-alike actors. The half-hour show will air daily and be about one day behind the actual events.

E! did a version of this for the O.J. Civil Trial and, according to E! topper, Ted Harbert, it gave the network much needed ratings.

How you feel about this kind of television is obviously personal. The immediacy of the production is really the only creepy part. Are you watching a fake trial or an historical reenactment? Are they bringing you into the Court Room or sensationalizing an already sensational event? Can the highlights of a day in court be cut down to a meaningful half-hour that doesn’t have an editorial point of view?

This is certainly a lesson in advanced media. Transcribing a day of testimony, creating a script, casting, shooting, editorial, post, master, cut promos and ship … basically overnight. TV that’s quick and non-disposable (this footage will be evergreen). Hey guys … nice job! Shelly Palmer

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit


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