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Superstar Bowl

Michael Jackson is in talks to headline the halftime show of Super Bowl XXVII

Michael Jackson at halftime for Super Bowl XXVII next January? It’s far from a done deal, but both the National Football League and Jackson’s management say the formerly gloved one is seriously considering starring in the gridiron show. Other performers on the NFL’s wish list reportedly include Elton John, Paul McCartney, Natalie Cole, and Bruce Springsteen.

Why is the Super Bowl dumping its Up With People-style entertainment for big-name power? In Living Color might have had something to do with it. The Fox comedy’s rival special, Halftime Party, cracked the Nielsen top 10 this year, attracting 29 million viewers. In several cities, that equaled the number of people watching the NFL’s ”Winter Magic” halftime extravaganza, and it was more than a third of the total Super Bowl audience. NFL director of communications Greg Aiello calls Color’s ratings ”a relatively minor factor, but it may have been the spark to get plans we’ve had in motion.” It seems more like a fiery competition for ad dollars, but whatever it takes — two snaps up.