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J.J. Abrams, Tavis Smiley Partner on Michael Jackson Event Series

Abrams' Bad Robot to help adapt Smiley's new book 'Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days'

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Tavis Smiley and J.J. Abrams wanna be startin’ somethin’. Abrams’ Bad Robot Prods. is set to develop a new event TV series based on Smiley’s new book “Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days.”

Before You Judge Me

“Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days”

Little, Brown and Co.

Warner Bros. TV, where both Smiley and Bad Robot are based for TV projects, is the studio attached; it hasn’t yet been sold to a network. “Before You Judge Me,” which Smiley wrote with David Ritz, is set to be published on June 21. The book looks at the final months of the King of Pop’s life.

READ MORE: Review: ‘Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off The Wall’ Makes You Want to Dance – And Shout

According to Warner Bros., 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

Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley


It’s the second collaboration between Smiley, Bad Robot and Warner Bros. TV: The three entities are also developing an event series based on another Smiley/Ritz book, “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Year.”

Smiley, Abrams, Ben Stephenson and David Brewington are executive producers on “Before You Judge Me.”

READ MORE: New Scripted TV Projects on Maya Angelou and Michael Jackson’s Last Days in the Works via Tavis Smiley

Warner Bros. TV struck a development and production pod deal with Tavis Smiley TV & Film in October. Under the deal, Smiley is also adapting his book (also written with Ritz) “My Journey with Maya,” about his 30-year friendship with poet Maya Angelou.

Smiley, of course, is known for his PBS talk show “Tavis Smiley” and his public radio series “The Tavis Smiley Show.”

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