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CBS eyeing Jackson for sweeps spec

Program may coincide with 'Number Ones' disc release

Jacko could be back-o.

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the TV during a sweeps month, it turns out CBS is in active discussions with Michael Jackson about a primetime special. Spec, which likely would air Nov. 26 — the final Wednesday night of the ratings frame — would be timed to hype the Nov. 18 release of “Number Ones,” a new greatest-hits collection from the singer.

Details of the spec are fuzzy, though it’s expected to be performance-based, with an emphasis on Jackson’s hits. It’s also still possible that CBS and the Jackson camp won’t be able to come to terms on a deal or other details of the spec, insiders cautioned.

Jackson has become a staple of sweeps in recent years. A November 2001 spec on CBS paying tribute to Jackson’s 30th year in showbiz drew more than 25 million viewers and gave CBS its best demo results on that night in 8 years.

Jacko fever hit a high point in February, however, with ABC, NBC and Fox all airing some sort of spec related to the singer.

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