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CBS schedules Jackson special

One day after Michael Jackson appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" doing an exclusive interview about his legal troubles, the network's entertainment division announced an airdate for its special featuring the pop star.

 

"Michael Jackson Number Ones," which celebrates his musical career, was pulled from CBS's schedule last month after authorities issued a warrant for Jackson's arrest on charges of child molestation. The special is now slated to air Friday night at 8 (locally, it will be seen on WBZ-TV, Channel 4).

The program, for which Jackson serves as executive producer, had originally been scheduled for Nov. 26, during sweeps month, but was postponed given the "gravity" of the charges, CBS said last month, adding that "Mr. Jackson is innocent until proven guilty."

Chris Ender, a CBS spokesman, said in a statement yesterday that Jackson's "60 Minutes" interview "cleared the way for the network to resurrect the music special.

"The timing is better. We wouldn't have rescheduled the entertainment special if he hadn't addressed the situation in the Ed Bradley interview."

"Number Ones" is an 18-song collection featuring Jackson's past chart-topping hits. Since its release Nov. 18 (the same day police began searching his Neverland Valley Ranch for evidence), sales of the compact disc have suffered.

The television special will feature interviews with artists such as Beyonce Knowles, Missy Elliott, Wyclef Jean, and Jennifer Lopez who will talk about Jackson's impact on pop culture. Some of Jackson's classic music videos, as well as tour footage, will be showcased.

A big, fat, obnoxious show

Take a pinch of "Married by America," add a dash of "The Joe Schmo Show," throw in a jigger of "Trista and Ryan's Wedding," and mix it all in a glass lined with "Average Joe" -- and you have the entirely original formula for Fox's latest reality entry, "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance."

Advocacy groups for the big, the fat, and the obnoxious should stand ready to be offended by the six-episode series, which will launch Jan. 19.

Fox can probably bet that "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" will find an initial audience. The network is premiering the show at 9 p.m., after the premiere of the third installment of "American Idol." It will continue in the time slot that once nurtured "Joe Millionaire," "Married by America," and "Mr. Personality."

The premise finds Randi, a 23-year-old first-grade teacher from Scottsdale, Ariz., attempting to perpetrate a giant lie on her family. She has to make her family believe that she has gone on a reality show and become engaged to "Steve," the embodiment of the show's title. She thinks that if she can make it through her wedding without admitting that she barely knows Steve, her family will get $500,000. Randi thinks Steve is also a show contestant trying to fool his own family. What she doesn't know is that Steve is an actor cast to be as obnoxious as possible to destroy the wedding. His friends and family are actors as well.

How could hilarity help but ensue? Claudia DiFolco, most recently seen on Fox's "Anything for Love," will host.

KNIGHT RIDDER

Trista and Ryan remain afloat

When the cameras aren't running, do Trista and Ryan just go into hibernation? Are there moments in that couple's life that television audiences have missed out on?

The former "Bachelorette" and her partner in life (as well as televised special events) will ride in the Tournament of Roses Parade, on the FTD float.

The couple were married in front of 17 million viewers on ABC. KNIGHT RIDDER

Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on "Around the Globe" today on NECN:

* 12:30 p.m.: "Globe at Home" -- Arts reporter Jim Sullivan previews Boston's First Night.

* 4 p.m.: "Around the Globe"

* 6:30 p.m.: "New England Business Day"

* 8 p.m.: "NewsNight" Schedule is subject to change.

Radio highlights

9 a.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23; Dvorak's Serenade in D; Schubert's Symphony No. 3.

Noon WUMB-FM (91.9) -- "Live at Noon." Guest: City of Roses.

4 p.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Symphony No. 55; Glazunov's Concert Waltz No. 1; Haydn's Symphony No. 25.

7 p.m. WUMB-FM (91.9) -- "The Blues." Guest: Keb' Mo'.

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