This evening I tuned into Fox because a friend told me American Idol was doing a tribute show to Michael Jackson. But, when the show started, I realized it was a re-run of a previous MJ-themed episode.
Now, I know every channel has been “all MJ all the time” these past few days. And, in some cases, it’s been appropriate. MTV running Michael’s videos all day Friday, for example. That made sense and I personally enjoyed watching. But, folks, this just felt wrong. To re-run a show that already earned ad dollars in order to earn more ad dollars off the death of a celebrity – that’s just not right.
Plus, I can’t help but think what a missed opportunity this was for Idol, Fox, Coke and ATT to generate good PR by putting on a real tribute show. The kind I thought I was going to watch tonight.
I expected to see the idol contestants, sure. But, I assumed this was something new put together to honor a man who went beyond just America’s – but let’s face it – the world’s Idol. So many performers were inspired by him, it seemed like such a classy move to pu
t on a tribute show.
I figured there would be a terrific list of guest appearances paying their respects through their performances.
I imagined there would be some social TV components like a live Twitter feed allowing fans to share their MJ memories with the “idols.”
I imagined the money earned from the show would be donated to one of Michael’s favorite charities or used to create a foundation for young music students in his name – with contributions from Coke, AT&T and Fox. Something like that would have generated terrific goodwill toward these companies and brands and the ratings would have been through the roof.
Instead, re-running an old episode feels like a cynical money-grab off the death of a much-loved entertainer.