Discovery Communications has shut down plans to air a special which reenacts the autopsy of late pop icon Michael Jackson. Here's the statement released by the network regarding the special, which was set to air on January 13 in the United Kingdom:

Given the commencement of legal proceedings beginning next week, and at the request of Michael Jackson's estate, the scheduled broadcast of the medical documentary related to Michael Jackson's official autopsy has been postponed indefinitely."

The program was heavily protested by both the Michael Jackson estate and his ardent fans. An online petition was formed calling for the show to be taken off the air, which has over 9,000 signatures. John Branca and John McClain, executors of the Michael Jackson estate, sent off a scathing letter to Discovery CEO David Zaslav on Wednesday. Here's an excerpt from that letter:

Your decision to even schedule this program is in shockingly bad taste, insensitive to Michael's family and appears motivated solely by your blind desire to exploit Michael's death, while cynically attempting to dupe the public into believing this show will have serious medical value. We were especially outraged when a sickening print advertisement for the program appeared making light of Michael's death by depicting a corpse sprawled on a steel gurney covered by a sheet with a hand sticking out wearing Michael's signature glove."

It isn't clear if the special would have ever aired in America, although it's likely this program will never see the light of day in any country. Discovery Communications declined to comment any further beyond their statement.