Net paid over $2 mil for rights

Fox has pacted with Michael Jackson to air the embattled pop star’s own footage of his recent interview with British journo Martin Bashir.

“Michael Jackson Take 2: The Interview They Wouldn’t Show You” will air Feb. 20 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the network. Insiders said Fox paid well over $2 million for rights to the footage, which will be edited and produced by Brad Lachman Prods. (“World’s Funniest,” “World’s Greatest Animal Outtakes”).

Jackson’s video footage was shot by close friend F. Marc Schaffel, whose experience as a gay pornography director and producer made headlines last summer. Schaffel was also the executive producer behind Jackson’s charity single “What More Can I Give,” a Sept. 11 tribute ultimately shelved by Sony Music.

The Fox special comes as Jackson has blasted the Bashir documentary “Living With Michael Jackson” for portraying his relationship with young children, as well as his parenting skills, as questionable.

“Michael Jackson Take 2″ will compare Schaffel’s footage of the Bashir-Jackson interviews with what was shown on “Living.” According to Fox, the footage includes shots of Bashir praising Jackson’s role as a parent. “Michael Jackson Take 2″ will also include an interview with Jackson’s ex-wife Deborah Rowe.

ABC obtained the initial U.S. rights to “Living,” which attracted more than 27 million viewers for the web on Feb. 6. The Alphabet web had hoped to secure another run of the special from Granada Intl. before it moves to VH1 this weekend, but that now appears unlikely.

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