Grandmother gets Custody of Michael Jackson’s kids

August 3, 2009 by  
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LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s mother has gained permanent custody of her late son’s children during a hearing Monday that saw a last-minute objection by the pop icon’s former dermatologist.

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Michael Jackson with Parents.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff made a series of key rulings during the morning portion of the Monday hearing. In addition to approving Katherine Jackson’s guardianship petition, he also granted monthly stipends to the 79-year-old and the three young grandchildren she is now charged with raising.

The ruling came after a few tense moments in which an attorney for Beverly Hills Dr. Arnold Klein, Michael Jackson‘s longtime dermatologist, raised nonspecific objections to the custody arrangements. The attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, said they were based on the doctor’s long-term relationship with the singer and his children.

“Legally, he is not a presumed parent,” Kaplan said. He said Klein had concerns about the children’s education and other day-to-day parenting issues.

Beckloff ultimately determined Klein didn’t have legal standing to object to the care of Jackson’s children, but said he could raise objections later. Klein has repeatedly denied tabloid reports that he is the biological father of Jackson’s children, saying last month on “Larry King Live” that “to the best of my knowledge” he is not.

Diane Goodman, an attorney for Katherine Jackson, told Beckloff that Jackson’s youngest son, Prince Michael II, was born through a surrogate who has no parental rights.

Katherine Jackson’s approval as permanent guardian is in accordance with her son’s wishes, who named her in a 2002 will as the person he wanted to raise his children.

Last week, Katherine Jackson and her son’s ex-wife, Deborah Rowe, reached an agreement over custody issues. Rowe never formally petitioned for custody, but will receive some visits with Jackson’s two oldest children, to whom she gave birth while the couple was married in the late 1990s.

Rowe did not appear in court Monday.

Katherine Jackson arrived Monday, flanked by her daughters LaToya and Rebbie and son Randy Jackson. Several attorneys representing her were also in court.

Beckloff noted that the singer’s two oldest children, 12-year-old Prince Michael and 10-year-old Paris Michael, filed declarations stating their wishes for who would raise them. He did not indicate what they said.

The agenda for Monday’s hearing contained a long laundry-list of issues for Beckloff to rule on. After a morning recess, the judge was expected to consider whether Katherine Jackson can mount a challenge to two men who have are administering her son’s estate, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain.

The men were named as co-executors of Jackson’s 2002 will, and have already received millions of dollars in the singer’s money, property and a life insurance payout, court filings show. According to Jackson’s will, 40 percent of the estate goes to Katherine Jackson, 40 percent goes to the children, and 20 percent goes to various charities.

It is unclear how much money Katherine Jackson and her grandchildren will receive in allowance from the singer’s estate in the meantime. Beckloff did not state the figures in court and indicated he was likely to seal those details if attorneys asked him to do so.

The proposed figures have been redacted from court filings so far.

Beckloff did trim the amount the three children will receive, saying that there appeared to be some duplication between the expenses Katherine Jackson listed and those listed for the children.

The hearing was attended by more than 20 attorneys representing a variety of interests, including Sony/ATV, a music catalogue in which Jackson had a substantial stake, concert promoter AEG Live, and Columbia Pictures. Several of the attorneys are also handling issues in Britney Spears’ conservatorship case, and an afternoon hearing scheduled in that matter was postponed.

The attorneys were outnumbered only by media outlets jockeying for seats in the hearing. A variety of broadcast, Internet and print media outlets covered the hearing, arriving more than an hour before Beckloff took the bench to get a seat. An overflow room was also required.

Sony bids $50 million for Jackson rehearsal film

July 20, 2009 by  
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LOS ANGELES – Sony Corp.’s movie studio has bid $50 million to acquire the worldwide distribution rights to a film based on rehearsal footage for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” comeback concert series, according to a person familiar with the bid.

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The person said Monday that the bid came after several studios, including Paramount, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros., were shown footage starting early last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the bidding had not been completed.

The winning studio would produce the film with Jackson’s concert promoter, AEG Live, and his estate.

It would go a long way to helping AEG Live recoup some of the $30 million to $32 million it spent producing the concert before Jackson died June 25.

Sony Pictures has a leg up on other bidders because Sony Music distributes Jackson’s music and is in a 50-50 partnership with his estate in Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

The bidding was reported earlier by the Los Angeles Times and industry blogger Nikki Finke.

The estate and AEG Live are also negotiating with several television networks and pay-per-view outlets on a TV special that would be a stage show featuring Jackson’s music and dancing. It would be directed by “This Is It” director Kenny Ortega.

The selling price being discussed for the rights to show the TV special is also in the tens of millions of dollars.

General Electric Co.’s NBC has been in talks on the TV show, but the concept, air date and cost for the rights has not been finalized, said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks.

“We have no deal for the rights to the Michael Jackson special,” Marks said.

Michael Jackson back-up dancer comes home

July 11, 2009 by  
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WEST PALM BEACH, FL–With every pop of his head, and move of his body, Kriyss Grant oozes energy, passion and raw talent.

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In the three short years since the G Star High School graduate left West Palm Beach, he has risen to the top of the dance world, most recently rehearsing along Michael Jackson as one of his dancers for his comeback tour.

He says he has gone through a whirlwind of emotions, rehearsing for Jackson’s comeback tour one week and his funeral the next.

“The thing I’ll miss most is his energy, his vibe and his passion,” Grant said.  “Before he even would walk into the room, you just feel his presence and know he’s there.”

Grant danced alongside Jackson for just three months,  rehearsing for the “This Is It” tour in Los Angeles.

He says he learned more from the superstar in that time than during a lifetime of dancing.

“If he wants you to do a move like this or whatever, you do it like this,” Grant said as he was demonstrating a signature Jackson move.  “You use your all. Your face and your body.”

Grant has been dancing since he could walk, without any real formal training, just a love for moving his body to music.

After a series of audtions in April, the virtual unknown was picked by the King of Pop to be one of twelve of his dancers.

“After the last audition, he shook my hand and said ‘Man, you are awesome,’ and I almost fell over,” Grant said.  “I was like I can’t believe this is Michael Jackson.”

The rehearsals were grueling, Grant said.  16 hour days, six days a week.  Still, he says Jackson was loving and encouraging.

“If he liked something we were doing, he would say, oh, lets do it like that,” Grant said.  “He was constantly evolving.  He wasn’t cocky.”

Grant says he rehearsed with the superstar the night before he died.

The next day, the dancers were tragically informed they would be performing for their idol’s funeral instead of the concert.

“When I want to cry, I think about what he taught me,” Grant said.

Jackson taught them to look at the world beyond themselves, he said

“It wasn’t really a comeback tour,” he said. “It was about a message.  The message was about healing the world.”

Source: WPTV.COM EXCLUSIVE

King of Pop’s albums soar

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Michael Jackson’s “Number Ones” grabbed the No. 1 spot this week, but that’s not all. » Astonishing numbersmj

Michael Jackson has three of the five best-selling albums in the U.S. for the second week in a row. Number Ones sold 339,000 copies this week and would have held at #1 on The Billboard 200 if catalog albums were eligible to compete on that chart. (The 2003 compilation sold a little more than twice as many copies this week as NOW 31, the album that holds the #1 spot.) Thriller sold 187,000 copies and would have jumped from #3 to #2 if catalog albums were invited to the party. The Essential Michael Jackson sold 125,000 copies and would have dropped from #2 to #5. (Billboard excludes catalog albums from the big chart on the theory that new albums need the spotlight the chart provides more than past hits do.)

Jackson’s catalog of solo albums sold 800,000 copies this week, up from 422,000 copies last week. (This was the first full week following Jackson’s death on June 25. Last week’s total reflected just four days of sales.) Billboard reports that 82% of the Jackson albums sold this week were CDs (vs. digital downloads). Last week, 43% of the Jackson albums sold were CDs. I think this shows that on a special album, people want the CD as a keepsake. (What a retro concept!)

Jackson’s total song download sales this week, including hits with his brothers, stand at 2.2 million downloads, down just a little from 2.6 million last week. A total of 47 songs that feature Jackson are listed on the Hot Digital Songs chart. (This is down just a bit from last week’s eye-popping total of 50.)

Number Ones racked up the biggest weekly sales total in Nielsen/SoundScan history for a catalog album (excluding Christmas albums). Jackson also held the old record, which he set in February 2008, when Thriller 25 sold 166,000 copies in its first week. Number Ones also posted the biggest one-week sales tally for an album by a deceased performer since the Notorious B.I.G.’s Duets: The Final Chapter debuted in December 2005 with first-week sales of 438,000.

Number Ones has sold 564,000 copies so far this year, which puts it at #18 on Nielsen/SoundScan’s running list of the best-selling albums of 2009. If it keeps going like this, it could topple Taylor Swift’s Fearless as the #1 album for the year-to-date. (Fearless has sold 1,352,000 copies since Jan. 1.) This will (in all likelihood) be only the third time in Nielsen/SoundScan history that an album by a deceased performer has ranked among the year’s top 10. 2Pac’s All Eyez On Me was the #6 album of 1996 (he died on Sept. 13 of that year). The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death was the #6 album of 1997 (he died on March 9 of that year).

Number Ones holds at #1 on the Catalog Albums chart. (Catalog albums are albums that are more than 18 months old, have fallen below #100 on The Billboard 200 and don’t have a current radio single.) Jackson owns the entire top 10 this week, counting a Jackson 5 album. The Essential Michael Jackson holds at #1 on the Digital Albums chart. The collection sold 53,000 digital copies this week.

This is the third time that Thriller has posted sales of 100,000 or more units in a week in the Nielsen/SoundScan era (which dates to 1991). As noted above, the album sold 166,000 copies when a 25th anniversary edition was released in February 2008. It sold 101,000 last week, in the aftermath of Jackson’s death. Thriller is the only the second catalog album (again, excluding Christmas albums) to top the 100,000 sales mark more than once since 1992. It follows the Grease soundtrack, a 1978 blockbuster that came back strong in the mid-1990s. The John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John tune-fest topped the 100,000 sales mark twice in December 1996 and again in April 1998, when the movie was re-released theatrically.

Jackson has five songs in the top 10 on Hot Digital Songs this week: “Man In The Mirror” at #2, “Billie Jean” at #4, “Thriller” at #5, “The Way You Make Me Feel” at #7 and “Beat It” at #10. Later today, I’ll post a Chart Watch Extra in which I count down Jackson’s 40 most songs with the most cumulative paid downloads. The list shows which of Jackson’s songs have best stood the test of time-and which haven’t.

Pop Quiz: To get you in the mood, here’s a good (but seriously tough) Jackson trivia question. What do these three songs have in common: “Rock With You,” “Human Nature” and “Man In The Mirror.” Answer below.

Jackson is selling around the world. In the U.K., The Essential Michael Jackson moves up to #1, dethroning Number Ones (which drops to #3). In Japan, King Of Pop vaults from #43 to #6.

In a Chart Watch Extra (here’s the link), I told you that Michael Jackson has had 17 #1 hits on the Hot 100 (combining Jackson 5 and solo records). Let me add that he has also had five #2 hits. Twice, he peaked at #2 behind hits that went on to be Billboard’s #1 single of the year. That was the fate of the J5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” (which got stuck behind Three Dog Night’sJoy To The World,” the top hit of 1971) and his own “Rockin’ Robin” (which ran up against Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” the top hit of 1972). The J5’s “Mama’s Pearl” peaked at #2 behind the Osmonds’One Bad Apple,” which was created in the mold of the early J5 hits. His other #2 hits were the J5’s “Dancing Machine” and his duet with Paul McCartney, “The Girl Is Mine.”

Quiz Answer: Those were the first “outside songs” (songs that Jackson didn’t write) to be released as singles from his three most famous albums, Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad. (I told you it was tough!)

Article Source: CLICK HERE

Michael Jackson’s daughter bids tearful goodbye

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Katherine addressed mourners at the Staples Center Tuesday, tearfully telling them her father was “the best father you could ever imagine.”

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“Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine,” the 11-year-old girl said. “And I just wanted to say I love him so much.”

The girl spoke after Jackson’s brothers Jermaine and Marlon bid tearful goodbyes to the King of Pop.

“Michael, when you left us, a part of me went with you,” Marlon Jackson said. “And a part of you will live forever within me but also a part of you will live forever within all of us.”

Before the final words Jackson’s band members, family, children and celebrities filled the stage at the Staples Center on Tuesday to sing Jackson’s “Heal the World.”

The song followed a performance of “We are the World,” the 1985 hit written by Jackson and Lionel Richie to raise money for African famine relief.

During the memorial, a host of friends, stars and politicians gathered to remember the King of Pop.

Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records, called Michael Jackson the “greatest entertainer that ever lived.”

“The more I think and talk about Michael Jackson, I feel the King of Pop is not big enough for him,” Gordy said as the crowd rose to its feet. “I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”

Gordy also recalled how when he auditioned the Jackson 5 in 1968, 10-year-old Michael was talented beyond his years.

“He was driven by his hunger to learn, to constantly top himself, to be the best. He was the consummate student. He studied the greats and became greater. He raised the bar and then broke the bar,” Gordy said. Gordy: Michael was ‘special’ »

Jackson’s golden casket was placed in front of the stage at his memorial as a choir sang.

Several of Jackson’s older brothers, each wearing one sequined glove, served as pallbearers, carrying the coffin to the stage as the Andrae Crouch choir sang “Soon and Very Soon.”

The stage at the Staples Center resembled a church sanctuary with a stain-glassed backdrop.

Mariah Carey was joined by Trey Lorenz singing The Jackson 5’s 1970 hit “I’ll Be there” as a montage of Jackson photographs appeared on arena screens.

Queen Latifah, saying she was on stage to represent “millions of fans inspired by Michael,” said “Michael was the biggest star on earth.” Lionel Richie then performed the song “Jesus is Love.”

Stevie Wonder took the stage next, sitting at a keyboard.

“This is a moment that I wished that I didn’t live to see come, but as much as I can say that and mean it, I do know that God is good,” Wonder said. “And I do know that as much as we may feel, and do, that we need Michael with us, God must have needed him more. “Photos: Celebrities remember Jackson »

Wonder then delivered an emotional version of his 1971 song “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer.”

Basketball stars Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson also addressed the crowd. Singer Jennifer Hudson took to the stage and sang Jackson’s song “Will You Be There.” Video Hudson sings in tribute »

The Rev. Al Sharpton addressed the crowd and spoke of Jackson’s contribution to the music world.

“When Michael started, it was a different world, but because Michael kept going, because he didn’t accept limitations, because he refused to let people decide his boundaries, he opened up the whole world in the music world,” Sharpton said. “He put on one glove, pulled his pants up and broke down the color curtain.”

Sharpton then addressed Jackson’s children.

“There wasn’t nothing strange about your daddy,” he said. “It was strange what your daddy had to deal with, but he dealt with it.”

Singer John Mayer then took out his guitar and performed Jackson’s “Human Nature.”

An emotional Brooke Shields, who was 13 when she became close friends with Jackson, said they bonded “because we both understood what it was like to be in the spotlight from a very, very young age.”

The service turned to tears, though, as Jackson’s brother Jermaine sang “Smile,” a favorite song of Michael’s. After struggling not to cry through the song, Jermaine was hugged by his surviving brothers as he left the stage.

Martin Luther King III, Bernice King and Congresswoman Shiela Jackson Lee also addressed the crowd.

Usher later sang “Gone Too Soon,” as he walked towards Jackson’s casket.

Earlier in the memorial Smokey Robinson read personal messages from several of Jackson’s celebrity friends who could not attend.

“Michael was a personal love of mine, a treasured part of my life, part of the fabric of my life, in a way that I can’t seem to find words to express” Diana Ross said in a message read by Robinson.

Robinson also read a message from Nelson Mandela, saying they had grown close after trips and performances in South Africa.

“We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on so many occasions in his life. Michael was a giant and a legend in the music industry. And we mourn with the millions of fans worldwide,” Robinson said, relaying Mandela’s message.

The public memorial began after Jackson’s family and closest friends attended a gathering at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills on Tuesday morning.

Jackson’s family and friends were at the chapel, which can hold about 1,000 people.

An army of fans poured into Los Angeles from places far-flung, hoping to collectively mourn their idol in a massive ceremony.

Police put up concrete barriers around the center, allowing only fans with tickets to the star-studded event to enter. Photo See gallery as people prepare for service »

The total cost for security at the event is estimated to be between $2 million and $4 million, said Matt Szabo, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The city, in the midst of a budget crisis, will foot the bill, Councilwoman Jan Perry said last week. Video Watch police say fans without tickets should stay home »

Until the last minute, the Jackson family remained tight-lipped about where the singer will be buried, but signs pointed to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills after several carloads of people, La Toya Jackson among them, visited the cemetery Monday. Details: Who will be there; map of area »

Actress Elizabeth Taylor, a longtime Jackson friend, and Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s former wife and the mother of his two older children, both said they would not be attending.

Fans congregated in downtown Los Angeles, outside the Staples Center regardless of whether they had tickets.

On Monday, organizers used a computer to choose 8,750 names from 1.6 million people who registered for tickets online. Each received a pair of tickets, for a total of 17,500 tickets.

Just 11,000 of those are for seats inside the arena. The other 6,500 are for viewing the memorial telecast across the street at the Nokia Theater. The Jackson family set aside an additional 9,000 Staples Center seats to give out, organizers said.