November 20, 2011
With the Conrad Murray trial and its painful aftermath, it has been very difficult for supporters of Michael Jackson for the past few months. The media once again failed to accurately report what was happening inside the courtroom. Michael's supporters were watching the trial and could clearly see what the media was doing. By watching the trial on live streaming, we deprived Scott Safon, Executive Producer of HLN, the ratings bonanza that he was so hoping to achieve. HLN consistently performed at next to bottom, ahead of MSNBC, for cable news ratings.
Shortly after the jury announced they had found Conrad Murray guilty of the crime of the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, MSNBC announced that in just a few days they would be airing the Conrad Murray documentary, Michael Jackson and the Doctor: A Fatal Friendship. MSNBC's misguided decision to go forward with this documentary did not yield the ratings they expected either.
The Conrad Murray documentary averaged 240,000 viewers in a Friday, November 11 demo, the time slot where MSNBC traditionally airs documentaries. That was enough to best top-rated Fox News, but the documentary was third in the hour among total viewers with 525,000.
In overseas markets, BBC News reported the most-watched U.K. programs on November 11 were EastEnders, with 8.4 million viewers and Coronation Street, which was seen by 8.1 million. "But Channel 4's exclusive interview with Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of pop star Michael Jackson..., only attracted 757,000 viewers." Australia's Channel 9's showing of the documentary only attracted 572,000 viewers as compared to the one million generally expected.
MSNBC licensed the documentary, which was produced by October Films and U.K.-based What's It All About? Productions. The deal included a pre-verdict "promotional" interview with Murray, which NBC gave prime placement on Today the morning after Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Jackson.
Representatives for Jackson criticized MSNBC for its plans to air the documentary and questioned whether money made on the film was somehow being funneled to Murray. The documentary also raised new questions about checkbook journalism, since the license fee did include an interview with Murray.
Clearly, you, Michael Jackson's admirers have made a difference by choosing to not watch HLN and MSNBC. You have also made your voices heard by your continued willingness communicate your disgust to these two networks that displayed poor ethics in the Conrad Murray trial. It is definitely a start.
Thank you for what you all do for Michael each day.