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Jacko’s back overseas

Distrib Haber nabs int'l rights to 'Footage'

Banking on the assumption that the rest of the world is as obsessed with Michael Jackson’s lifestyle as folks are Stateside, distrib Alfred Haber has snapped up rights to “The Michael Jackson Interview: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See.”

The show includes unused footage from the now infamous Martin Bashir docu about the pop singer.

New Jersey-based Haber is one of the world’s largest distributors of specials produced for U.S. broadcast networks.

“This two-hour special is guaranteed to draw huge audiences around the world,” said Haber, president of his eponymous company.

The U.S. broadcast of “Living With Michael Jackson” on ABC Feb. 20 drew 27 million viewers, while the original British showing on Granada TV on Feb. 3 drew 15 million viewers, more than half the British TV audience.

Big ratings

This rebuttal show aired on Fox on a hotly contested February sweeps Thursday evening against CBS’ “Survivor” and “CSI” and NBC’s “Friends” and “Will & Grace,” and still gave Fox one of its highest-rated Thursdays in four years, Haber said.

While Bashir had his cameras on Jackson, the self-proclaimed King of Pop had his personal cameraman aimed at Bashir. This footage serves as the foundation for the Haber-distribbed doc.

Jackson’s exclusive footage contrasted with scenes culled from “Living With Michael Jackson,” calling into serious question the intent and content depicted in the original doc.

When cameras were off

In addition to the comparisons between what Jackson’s cameras recorded in two of the main interviews and what Bashir chose to show in his version, the rebuttal doc includes footage of what happened when Bashir’s cameras weren’t rolling. These include lighthearted, friendly camaraderie between Bashir and Jackson, their discussions of current events and Bashir’s surprisingly effusive compliments about Jackson’s parenting and relationships.

Haber will offer the doc at the upcoming Mip TV program sales market in Cannes March 24-28.

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