WHY DID MICHAEL JACKSON DIE?
The Los Angeles County Coroner/Medical Examiner is expected to disclose preliminary autopsy findings this afternoon (Friday) concerning the cause of death Thursday of Michael Jackson. The singer's passing -- which made headlines throughout the world -- came as he was preparing a series of comeback concerts in the U.K. under the banner "This Is It!" Word that paramedics had been called to Jackson's home in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles where he was in full cardiac arrest was first flashed to the world via the Los Angeles Times website. By the end of the day, virtually every major Internet news outlet throughout the world was being swamped by people wanting to learn about the circumstances surrounding his death. They found little. The TMZ website posted video apparently taken by someone aboard a tour bus of a Los Angeles Fire Department emergency vehicle parked in front of Jackson's home. Entertainment Tonight had a photo of Jackson as he arrived unconscious at UCLA Medical Center. Brian Oxman, a spokesman for the Jackson family, disclosed on CNN that the singer had been having difficulty rehearsing for his London performances at L.A.'s Staple Center because of pain from previous injuries. "His use of medications had gotten in the way," Oxman said. On this morning's Today show Oxman revealed that he had warned Jackson's family about his increased dependence on pain killers. "I said one day, we're going to have this experience. And when Anna Nicole Smith passed away, I said we cannot have this kind of thing with Michael Jackson. ... The result was, I warned everyone, and lo and behold, here we are." The London Sun reported that it had learned from paramedics that Jackson had collapsed after being given an injection of the painkiller Demerol by his personal physician, who was administering CPR to him when they arrived. (Police reportedly want to interview the doctor, who has not been identified.) Results of toxicological tests conducted during today's autopsy are not expected to be made known for several days or perhaps even weeks. However, AEG Live, the Philip Anschutz-owned concert company that was producing Jackson's sold-out London shows, said early today that he had passed an insurance examination by independent doctors only recently. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that although AEG Live had been able to obtain insurance from Lloyd's of London for his London shows, the rest of his tour dates -- which were expected to gross as much as$500 million -- were not covered.
FARRAH SPECIALS BEAT THE JACKSON ONES
All four major TV networks aired news specials about Jackson Thursday. In addition, NBC reran its recent documentary about Farrah Fawcett, who also died Thursday and ABC also aired a 20/20 special about the actress. Somewhat surprisingly, the Fawcett specials drew larger audiences than the Jackson ones. Indeed, ABC's Fawcett documentary drew 8.23 million viewers and was by far the most-watched program of the night. By contrast, its Michael Jackson special, which aired an hour earlier, averaged 5.71 million viewers. CBS's Jackson special, which aired opposite ABC's Fawcett special drew 7.57 million viewers, while the two hours of NBC's Jackson and Fawcett coverage averaged 5.53 million viewers.
COWELL AND U.K. BILLIONAIRE FORM "GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS"
British TV producer and American Idol judge Simon Cowell and British department store magnate Philip Green are merging their names into a new company called Greenwell Entertainment. Press reports describe it as a "global entertainment business," but it was not clear how it would function. It is expected to incorporate Cowell's TV and recording interests, which include Britain's Got Talent, as well as its U.S. version, America's Got Talent as well as The X Factor, another talent contest that could also find a place on U.S. television. Cowell also operates several businesses through his company Syco tied to American Idol, a show that reportedly has made him the highest-paid personality on U.S. TV. Nevertheless, he disclosed in a recent interview that he often experiences "dark moods and miserable thoughts" that cause him to become "very antisocial, depressed and irritable."
LIVE BASEBALL COMES TO THE IPHONE
It may be hard to track the ball on such a small screen, but Major League Baseball said Thursday that it has begun streaming live baseball to owners of Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices. The webcasts -- two games each day chosen by MLB -- will be made available free to the 7 million users of MLB's $9.99 At Bat "app." Later, it indicated, it will begin to roll out every game played in the two major leagues, although by then it is expected that it will start charging users. The At Bat application will also allow viewers to pause and rewind plays, as if the device were a DVR.
GENACHOWSKI APPROVED AS FCC CHAIRMAN
The U.S. Senate voted by unanimous consent Thursday to confirm Democrat Julius Genachowski as the next chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. It also approved the re-nomination of Republican Robert McDowell. Both men are likely to be sworn in and seated at the commission's conference table when the next meeting of the FCC takes place on July 2.