Tavis Smiley and J.J. Abrams to Produce Series on Michael Jackson's Last Days

Joel Keller
JJ Abrams, Michael Jackson, Tavis Smiley
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images ; Valerie Macon/Getty Images

It's hard to believe, but it's been over seven years since Michael Jackson passed away at the all-too-early age of 50. The circumstances surrounding his death—who he surrounded himself with, what kind of money and other pressures were affecting him, and why he needed the drugs that ultimately did him in—have been tabloid fodder for years. Sometime in 2017, though, we'll see a fictionalized account of the last month of his life, produced by Tavis Smiley and J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company, Warner Bros. announced today.

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Smiley, the PBS talk show host, has written a novelization of MJ's final days, Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Dayswhich will be released on Tuesday, June 21. "The book examines the soaring highs and deep lows faced by the late pop star—his constant hunt for privacy in a life that was more public than almost any other, and the pressures he endured as someone whose fame made him socially fragile and almost unable to live," wrote WB in the release.

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After the success of The People v. O.J. Simpson, as well as true-crime shows like Making a Murderer, it seems like the time is ripe to dissect mysterious celebrity deaths via the "event series" route. At some point, will we see Prince, Whitney Houston or Philip Seymour Hoffman given the same treatment? Anyway, let the guessing game begin as to who will play some of the show's main characters. We're thinking that Donald Glover could do a very good dramatic turn as MJ, and David Harewood could do a good impression of sad-sack doctor Conrad Murray, who administered the fatal dose of propofol to Jackson. Discuss...