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August 23, 2014

MTV Picks Up 'This Is It': Why It May Be Better Suited for Television

by Scott Harris, posted Nov 18th 2009 2:45PM
The King of Pop is heading back to the network that turned him into a superstar, as MTV has landed the television rights to the Michael Jackson concert film 'This Is It'.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, MTV Networks, which includes sister properties such as VH1, BET and Palladia, has purchased the exclusive U.S. rights to the documentary comprised of behind-the-scenes footage shot earlier this year from the rehearsals for Jackson's planned comeback tour.

With Jackson's untimely death this summer, it was anticipated that the film would shatter box office records when it was released last month. While 'This Is It' did debut in the top spot, however, the current total of $67 million domestically has fallen short of expectations, possibly due in part to tepid word of mouth, as some viewers felt the unfinished routines in the movie did not live up to Jackson's high performance standards.The King of Pop is heading back to the network that turned him into a superstar, as MTV has landed the television rights to the Michael Jackson concert film 'This Is It'.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, MTV Networks, which includes sister properties such as VH1, BET and Palladia, has purchased the exclusive U.S. rights to the documentary comprised of behind-the-scenes footage shot earlier this year from the rehearsals for Jackson's planned comeback tour.

With Jackson's untimely death this summer, it was anticipated that the film would shatter box office records when it was released last month. While 'This Is It' did debut in the top spot, however, the current total of $67 million domestically has fallen short of expectations, possibly due in part to tepid word of mouth, as some viewers felt the unfinished routines in the movie did not live up to Jackson's high performance standards.

Still, the union of Jackson and MTV has proven to be magic in the past, as his videos for 'Thriller' and 'Billie Jean' helped catapult both to international prominence; the long relationship between the two should allow MTV to present the film in a larger context of videos and interviews that would have been impossible to pull off in a theater. And in some ways, raw nature of the footage seems to be better suited for the small screen, since it provides a more intimate view of the star that should be familiar to music-savvy audiences brought up on documentary shows like 'Behind the Music'.

In many ways, then, 'This Is It' couldn't have landed in a better spot, since this union allows MTV to do what it once did best: present groundbreaking musical content in a unique visual context. And if that helps remind MTV of the musical legacy that they have largely abandoned in favor of cheap reality shows, well, all the better.

We think that Jackson would have liked that idea.

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