JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions banner and Warner Bros. Television are teaming up with Tavis Smiley to develop a TV event series based on Smiley’s upcoming book Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days, TVWise has learned.
Before You Judge Me is described as a taut novelistic rendering of the final months in the life of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture, Michael Jackson. 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.
The project, which is envisioned as an event series, and has not yet been pitched to any networks, will be produced by Tavis Smiley’s production company Smiley TV & Film, Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Smiley, Abrams, Bad Robot’s Head of Television Ben Stephenson and Smiley TV & Film’s David Brewington will serve as executive producers. At present there is no writer attached.
The development deal for Before You Judge Me comes some 24 hours before the book is set to be published. Warner Bros Television already held the rights to the book under the terms of a multi-year development and production pod deal the studio inked with Tavis Smiley and his production company late last year. At the time, it was announced that Before You Judge Me and Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Year would be the first projects from Smiley TV & Film to be developed for TV. Bad Robot is also based at WBTV,