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Networks race to air new Jacko news specials

Networks race to air new Jacko news specials. Look for more Jacko reports this weekend on ''20/20,'' ''Dateline,'' and ''48 Hours''

Michael Jackson

(Michael Jackson: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Newscom)

CBS may have canceled its Michael Jackson music special in the wake of the singer’s arrest on child molestation charges, but that’s not stopping the networks (including CBS) from racing to schedule Jackson-related news specials for this weekend, while the November ratings sweeps month is still in progress. Variety reports that Barbara Walters will interview brother Jermaine Jackson on Friday’s ”20/20,” while Saturday will see dueling Jackos on NBC and CBS. NBC’s ”Dateline” announced Wednesday it would air hour-long Jackson reports on Friday and Saturday, while CBS claims its broadcast of ”48 Hours Investigates,” airing at the same time Saturday, will contain ”new details and revelations” in the case. Cable’s VH1 is also getting into the act, rerunning February’s Martin Bashir-hosted documentary ”Living With Michael Jackson” on Sunday at 7:30, followed by a new special at 9:30, the bluntly titled ”Michael Jackson Sex Scandal.”

”20/20” won’t be the first show to hear from Jermaine Jackson. The singer called CNN on Thursday to defend his brother, saying he was innocent of the charges and calling his arrest a ”modern-day lynching,” the same phrase he used in February to attack the Bashir documentary. ”This is what they want to see: him in handcuffs. You got it. But it won’t be for long,” Jermaine said. He added, ”The whole family supports Michael 100 percent, 1,000 percent.”

Originally posted November 21 2003 — 12:00 AM EST

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