NEW YORK — The Michael Jackson verdict touched off a scramble for interviews with jurors and members of the defense team at the courthouse in Santa Maria.
The verdict came in shortly before 5 p.m. on the East Coast, just as producers were putting the final touches on their evening newscasts.
After the verdicts were read, and the jurors gave their own press conference, bookers for the major networks tried to land interviews for evening talkshows and the morning news shows.
CBS ordered a last-minute half-hour primetime edition of “48 Hours” to parse the trial implications, and planned to air parts of a previously taped interview with Jackson’s father, Joe Jackson.
NBC scheduled an hourlong “Dateline” on the subject, with Stone Phillips reporting live from Santa Maria.
ABC News opted for no primetime special, instead scheduling Jackson-related interviews for “Good Morning America.”
Cable news nets geared up for a long night, with Fox News, CNN, CourtTV and Headline News devoting their entire primetime to Jackson coverage.
Larry King landed an interview Tuesday night with Jackson defense attorney Tom Mesereau, and Jackson’s brothers Tito and Jermaine, who said Michael will perform again, but for now needs to rest.
Fox News snared the attorney for Jackson’s family, Debra Opri, and MSNBC scored an early sitdown, also with brothers Jermaine and Tito.
On NBC’s “Nightly News,” Brian Williams tried to put the case in perspective, noting that in the time since Jackson’s arrest, “a President’s been elected, a Pope has died and been replaced, a tsunami has changed the world and Iraqis have voted… Tonight, at long last, it is time to move on.”