Michael Jackson's Personal Debts Have Been Paid Off + Ratings For Bad25 Weren't Good

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On the eve of the Thanksgiving debut of Spike Lee’s Bad 25 documentary, the late Michael Jackson has a lot to be thankful for.

Yesterday a representative of the singer’s estate confirmed to FORBES that, on Monday, the estate paid off the last dollars on a loan connected to Mijac Music, the catalog that’s home to many songs composed by the King of Pop, including hits like “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.”

The payment means that the estate has eliminated the last of Jackson’s outstanding personal debts (FORBES reported last month that Jackson’s personal debts would be paid off by the end of the year). That’s no small feat, considering the pile obligations–roughly half a billion dollars–left behind by the singer when he passed away in 2009.

Jackson’s estate has been able to pay off that debt earlier than expected thanks to the enduring popularity of the King of Pop and his work, which spurred earnings of $145 million over the past year alone.



Financial highlights since 2009 include a $60 million advance for concert film This Is It, which went on to become the most successful concert film in history with a worldwide gross in excess of a quarter billion dollars, as well as a new $250 million record deal with Sony, the largest ever.

More recently, the Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour–a joint venture with Cirque du Soleil–grossed $160 million during its first leg, making it this year’s top tour in North America. The show now moves abroad, and is currently wending its way through Germany.

There are still some business debts left for Jackson, namely a loan that FORBES estimates at $280 million, connected to the Sony/ATV publishing catalog.

But the loan’s interest rate of 2.9%, negotiated down from 5.8% shortly after the singer’s death, seems innocuous enough–and perhaps necessary for continued expansion of the company, which is half-owned by Jackson’s estate.

Meanwhile, the show goes on. Lee’s BAD 25 documentary, which celebrates the quarter-century anniversary of Jackson’s followup to Thriller, will air on Thanksgiving at 9:30pm Eastern time on ABC.

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Spike Lee’s tribute to Michael Jackson was tackled in the ratings by NBC’s football coverage Thursday night.

The ABC special Michael Jackson: Bad 25 was well-received by critics, and included interviews with stars such as Kanye West, Chris Brown and Mariah Carey honoring the late musician on the 25th anniversary of the making of his “Bad” video. Yet the 90-minute documentary delivered a weak performance, even by Thanksgiving-night standards.

Bad was seen by 4.6 million viewers and had a 1.2 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, down 25 percent from ABC’s musical special last year, A Very Gaga Thanksgiving. It was topped by CBS repeats and tied a repeat of a repeat of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving as the night’s lowest-rated show in the demo (ABC ran the Charlie Brown special on Wednesday night, too).

NBC’s Sunday Night Football (yes, I know, but that’s the official name of the program) easily dominated the evening. The New England vs. New York game delivered roughly 16 million viewers with a 6.2 demo rating, though these live telecast numbers are considered preliminary and may shift slightly in the afternoon nationals.

Fox also had some high-rated football too, in early primetime, that pushed its regular entertainment programming forward. So Fox’s ratings are preliminary, as well. Yet it looks like fans switched over from the game on Fox to the game on NBC rather than stick around in large numbers for original episodes of The X-Factor (7.6 million, 2.4) and Glee (4.2 million, 1.3)

Overall lesson that you already knew: TV viewers want football on Thanksgiving. source 1 2

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