JACKSON'S FINAL REHEARSAL TO AIR

The final rehearsal for Michael Jackson's planned concert tour will likely be broadcast internationally, Chicago Sun-Times entertainment columnist Bill Zwecker reported today (Monday), citing a source at Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Los Angeles-based concert promotion and touring company that was staging Jackson's comeback. A similar report appeared on Sharon Waxman's blog, TheWrap.com. It was not immediately clear whether the company intends to distribute the rehearsal performance to theaters or whether it is planning a television special. According to the reports, the rehearsal was shot with multiple "state-of-the-art" cameras (presumably meaning high-definition equipment) and the audio was captured in SurroundSound. Besides Jackson, the material also included performances by dancers, musicians and aerial performers. Illusionist Ed Alonzo told USA Today: "It was incredible. ... His moves were dead-on -- the same Michael Jackson we [saw] through the years in music videos. ... Every song he was doing was not just singing, but surrounded by huge production -- gigantic spiders and 20-foot puppets. I feel I was so blessed to see the only performance of this concert." The rehearsal was reportedly taped at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 24, the day before Jackson's death. The AEG source told Zwecker and Waxman that the video could also be released as a DVD and the audio, as a live CD. "We have a live album in the can," an AEG official boasted to a colleague over the weekend, according to Waxman's account.

CELEBRITY WEBSITE TMZ GETS ON BEAT ON JACKSON STORY

Although several news outlets, including this one, credited the Los Angeles Times for being the first to report the death of Michael Jackson, it was actually the celebrity website TMZ, operated by lawyer/TV personality Harvey Levin, that did so, the Times itself acknowledged on Sunday. The newspaper offered no explanation for its failure to mention TMZ as its source while issuing numerous one-line bulletins via its L.A.Now website Thursday afternoon. In its own article on Sunday the newspaper mentioned that TMZ's "tabloid sensibilities have made some other news organizations reluctant to cite its reporting -- including CNN, a sister company [TMZ, like CNN, is owned by Time Warner], which relied on the Los Angeles Times' reporting rather than TMZ's on the day of Jackson's death." Asked why the Times itself made no mention of the TMZ reports, reporter Scott Collins responded by email: "As far as I know, our reporters verified the story thru their own police/fire contacts. But tmz had story first."

BASHIR DOCUMENTARY ON JACKSON TO AIR ON MSNBC

MSNBC has bought the rights to Living With Michael Jackson, the Martin Bashir documentary that aired on Britain's ITV in January 2003 and was reedited for airing on ABC's Primetime a month later. The documentary included an interview with a 13-year-old cancer victim whom Jackson had taken into his Neverland home -- and who later sued Jackson alleging sexual misconduct. The boy's face was digitally obscured. Bashir is now a correspondent for ABC's Nightline, which has recently been running excerpts from the Jackson documentary.

SCOTUS ALLOWS "REMOTE STORAGE"

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the major film studios and TV networks of a ruling that would allow a New York cable company to offer subscribers "remote storage" -- that is, allow them to record television shows and movies and store them on a hard drive at the cable company rather than on their own digital video recorders. The studios and networks had claimed that the system infringes on their copyrights. The SCOTUS decision would allow Cablevision to offer subscribers the ability to record their favorite programs without the cable company having to provide them with settop hardware. Other cable companies have indicated that they plan to launch similar systems.

TV PITCHMAN BILLY MAYS DEAD AT 50

TV pitchman Billy Mays, one of the most familiar faces on wee-hour television, died Sunday in Tampa, FL at age 50. On Saturday he had been aboard a plane that made a landing at the Tampa Bay airport that was so rough that the plane blew its tires, leaving debris on the runway. Mays told reporters that he had been hit on the head during the landing. "All the things from the ceiling started dropping," he remarked. His hard-sell infomercials for OxiClean were so ubiquitous that several stations were running them even as competitors were airing news reports about Mays's death.

EARLY SITCOM STAR GALE STORM DIES AT AGE 87

Gale Storm, one of the early stars of TV sitcoms, died Saturday at a Danville, CA nursing home at the age of 87. She was featured in two long-running series in the 1950s, My Little Margie, from 1952 to 1956, and The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna, from 1956 to 1960.

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