ABC, NBC face off on Jackson

'Living Wiith,' 'Unmasked' specials to duel

It will be a battle of the Wacko Jackos this February sweep, as ABC and NBC each tackle the world of Michael Jackson in specials.

Alphabet net announced Thursday it will air “Living With Michael Jackson,” a special two-hour edition of “20/20,” at 9 p.m. Feb. 7. Program will consist mostly of a Granada documentary acquired by ABC.

“Living” includes an interview with Jackson by U.K. reporter Martin Bashir of ITV1, who was with the King of Pop when he made headlines for dangling his baby over a hotel balcony.

Granada Intl. has worldwide rights to the docu, for which insiders said ABC paid $4 million-$5 million — outbidding other nets, including NBC. In Britain, ITV1 will air it on Monday.

ABC News’ decision to acquire the interview comes after “Dateline NBC’s” recent announcement that it would air a special edition during sweeps all about Jackson’s ever-changing face.

“Michael Jackson Unmasked,” which airs Feb. 17 at 10 p.m., promises to get to the bottom of his visage through interviews with family and others. Peacock insiders said the net has no plans to move the airdate despite ABC’s scheduling.

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