Jackson family reunion set for January broadcast TURNED ON IN L.A. -- Fall Preview

July 23, 1993|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- The Jacksons yesterday announced a family reunion. But family members had a little trouble getting their act together during the announcement.

The reunion will take place Dec. 11 at the Atlantic City Convention Center where NBC will tape "The Jackson Family Honors," a new awards show produced by Jermaine Jackson. Nineteen thousand tickets will be sold to the event. The show will air Jan. 10 on NBC.

"The Jackson Family Honors" will feature parents Katherine and Joseph Jackson, as well as Michael, Jermaine, Janet, Jackie, Randy, Marlon, Rebbie and Tito.

Two people selected by the family will be honored during the telecast "for helping the world," in the words of Jermaine. The Jacksons will perform during the show, and the money from ticket sales will be donated to charities selected by the family. Beyond that, the family was vague on details.

But vague gave way to downright disagreement when the floor was opened to questions and the Jacksons were asked why LaToya was not participating.

"She will be," Jermaine said. "I am personally going to Paris to hand deliver her invitation. . . . We're behind her."

But, Jermaine's mother, Katherine, said, "I don't agree with LaToya. What she's doing really embarrasses me. . . . I'm afraid it kind of tarnishes her."

She was referring to the nude review LaToya has appeared in on pay cable and the book she wrote about being abused by her father.

Bottom line: LaToya may or may not participate.

There was more disagreement when family members were asked about the ABC miniseries, "The Jacksons: An American Dream," which received four Emmy nominations yesterday.

"I think it was an honor to show our life story and what a great job my mother and father did for our family," said Jermaine, who was an executive producer for the miniseries.

"It was a good movie," added Joseph, who was portrayed in the film as a strict parent who physically punished the children.

'Well, I think it played Joseph a little hard," Katherine said. "I think it was exaggerated. He wasn't that mean."

And so, the Jacksons' story goes on . . .

'Afloat' adrift?

There was also disagreement between Larry Hagman and his new bosses at NBC yesterday about whether his show, "Staying Afloat," will be a made-for-TV movie or a midseason replacement for a weekly series.

"I honestly don't know what their plans are," Hagman said. "You probably know as much as I do."

In the show, Hagman plays a millionaire who loses his fortune, gets in tax trouble and must go to work for the government to stay out of jail.

"He's nothing like J. R. Ewing," Hagman says.

Will the long shadow of J. R. dog him the rest of his TV days? Hagman was asked.

"I don't know. Did you ever see 'I Dream of Jeannie.' I made the transition after that to bad guy from bumbling fool. I guess I can reinvent myself one more time."

No Cosby

Where's Bill?

That was one of the loudest questions being asked during NBC's presentation of its new TV season.

The network has been featuring Bill Cosby in promotions and saying, "Bill is back." But Bill was nowhere to be found and was doing nothing to squelch reports that he was about to buy the network.

Bottom line: The network has a deal with Cosby to do three made-for-TV movies. But not one frame of film or tape has been shot, and the network can't say when Cosby is going to start work.

The use of Cosby's name is an effort by the last-place network to generate excitement for an otherwise rubber bands-and-glue fall schedule.

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