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CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

Michael TV

Aired February 18, 2003 - 07:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: It seems like America wants its MTV -- that's Michael TV. Last night, Michael Jackson was all over the networks, five hours' worth on ABC and NBC. And on Thursday, Fox will air the Jackson camp's rebuttal to that scathing British documentary.
Why all the attention for an artist who hasn't had a big hit in years?

Joining us with more now, "Rolling Stone" contributing editor, Toure.

Good morning again.

TOURE, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE": Thank you very much.

ZAHN: A pretty good sweeps month ploy, isn't it?

TOURE: Well, I mean, this is...

ZAHN: Michael sells.

TOURE: This is -- right. This is still one of the greatest artists of the last 30 years. I mean, if Marlon Brandon's face and career and life were falling apart, that would be all over the television. Or if Miles Davis were still alive, that would be huge business.

And you know, Michael Jackson needs to be famous, he needs to get out there and have his 15 minutes again and again and again. And he can't get it through music, hey, let's -- you know, let's go on TV and say whatever we've got to say to get people to watch.

ZAHN: Well, he's not making people watch.

TOURE: Certainly not. Certainly not.

ZAHN: They're all riveted.

TOURE: Well, I mean, wouldn’t you be riveted? I mean, this 44- year-old man talking about sleeping in the bed with small children, and he's claiming these blonde, blue-eyed children are the product of his African sperm. And I'm dismayed. Just recounting it I'm dismayed. I mean, imagine watching the whole thing. Ah!

ZAHN: I watched a lot of it last night, and I couldn't -- I was really having trouble getting over to "Joe Millionaire." I really was.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Life is not easy, is it?

ZAHN: Michael captivated me. There has to be an explanation, though, for why we need to learn more about this guy. Is it because it's like watching a train wreck?

TOURE: This is the weirdest story ever told. I mean, the guy was like King Midas. From small childhood, he could do no wrong. Suddenly, we're getting stories about all of these animals and the hyperbolic chamber, which we fascinatingly learned he planted. I mean, how dumb is that...

CAFFERTY: Sure.

TOURE: ... that you planted this story to make you look weird? That blew up in his face, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the pun.

CAFFERTY: Yes.

TOURE: And then, you know, we're getting just these children stories, I mean, one after another. First, he's around children all the time, and then we've got dangling the baby. I mean, you know, this is a very creepy story.

ZAHN: What you missed last night were all of the plastic surgeons describing what they thought procedure by procedure he had done, when in fact he's only admitted to two.

CAFFERTY: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

TOURE: And he said he's only done two.

CAFFERTY: Yes.

TOURE: And the plastic surgeon last night said at least 50.

CAFFERTY: Only in America -- one of the great lines, only in America could a poor, black boy grow up to be a rich white woman.

(LAUGHTER)

CAFFERTY: That would be M.J.

TOURE: Well, you know who he looks like, Cruella DeVille. Right? I mean, like you can really put them -- they've got the cheek bones and...

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