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June 25, 2009

Networks plan Michael Jackson specials tonight

JacksonUPDATE: List of Jackson and Fawcett specials through the weekend and beyond.

Broadcasters are scrambling to pull together retrospective news specials on Michael Jackson, who was pronounced dead today at the age of 50.

ABC, CBS and NBC are reworking their primetime lineups tonight to make room for coverage of the singer and the passing of actress Farrah Fawcett.

ABC News plans two hours devoted to Jackson and Fawcett. The network has announced a special "20/20" called "The Life and Death of Michael Jackson" at 9 p.m. with Barbara Walters and Martin Bashir anchoring. Bashir came to the network after his 2003 documentary "Living With Michael Jackson" scored a large audience for the network. At 10 p.m., ABC's previously planned special "Farrah Fawcett: Her Life, Her Loves, Her Legacy" will air. Additional reporting will continue on “Nightline,” at 11:35 p.m., ET.

NBC News plans a two-hour episode of "Dateline" starting at 9 p.m. devoted to Jackson and Fawcett. NBC News' Ann Curry and Meredith Vieira will anchor the tribute. On Friday, NBC plans to rebroadcast "Farrah's Story," a two-hour documentary about Farrah Fawcett's battle with cancer.

CBS News currently plans a one-hour news special at 10 p.m., also titled "The Life and Death of Michael Jackson."

Fox hasn't made any decisions yet, and live coverage is currently blanketing the cable news networks.

UPDATE: Bio Channel announced they will air "Bio Remembers: Michael Jackson" on Saturday night.

UPDATE: Fox will air an encore of the two-hour Jackson-themed episode of "American Idol" on Monday night. The episode was from last season, with the top 13 contestants performing. 

UPDATE: Jackson memorial service live blog


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