Jacko Story Continues
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This is Kevin Roderick with LA Observed for KCRW.
If you had told me a week ago that I'd still be reading and listening to all the stories about Michael Jackson, I would have protested.
And If you'd suggested that Jackson would be my subject in this time spot again this week, I might have said you were crazy.
And yet, here we are.
Jackson is still dominating the news agenda, nationally too but especially here in Los Angeles. Or as the media likes to call us, Hollywood.
I'm fine with the media fascination with Jackson, up to a point, and apparently you are too. A poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that almost two-thirds of Americans think the coverage of Jackson's death has been excessive.
But -- we're also eating it up. We're watching TV updates, reading stories online and making everything Jackson a hot topic on social networks, eight days after he died.
And when you think about it, why not?
It's a big story when a mega star dies these days, and it would be even if TMZ and the Drudge Report didn't exist. Gone are the days when the CBS Evening News could bury the news of Elvis Presley dying.
From a news junkie's perspective, the Jackson story is just getting better. His fans have had time to adjust to the tragedy of his death, and now the larger story is shifting into a higher gear.
We have the Los Angeles County Coroner declining to assign a cause of death for a citizen of the county, pending further investigation.
We have the Los Angeles Police Department and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration looking into whether an illegal misuse of drugs killed or contributed to the death of one of the world's biggest performers.
Who can say whether that will lead to disclosures or legal action involving doctors, lawyers or others who provided services to Jackson.
TMZ has reported there were hypodermic injection marks all over Jackson's body, and that a powerful surgical anesthetic was found in his home.
We already have the courts of Los Angeles County drawn into judging which of Jackson's wills is the real thing. A judge will also have to decide the executor of his estate. And most important of all, who will become the legal guardian of Jackson's three young children.
Jackson apparently nominated his mother, who is now 79 years old, with Diana Ross as the backup choice. That issue goes to court next week.
And, then, we still have the fairly compelling public drama of what's going to happen to Michael himself.
Jackson's body has undergone at least two autopsies. He hasn't yet been buried.
When there's talk of a public viewing at his old Neverland Ranch near Santa Barbara – and a public memorial tribute in the same LA Coliseum where the Lakers held their championship – you know this is no ordinary media overreaction to a celebrity passing.
The talk has settled into what sounds as if it will be a funeral on Tuesday at Forest Lawn, with a motorcade to follow to Staples Center.
There a memorial tribute would be mounted by AEG, the company that signed Jackson to do a career resurrection set of 50 performances at its arena in London.
The Lakers parade and rally cost something on the order of $2 million, about half of that for the expense of police overtime and setting up the parade route.
I'd guess that a motorcade from the Valley over the hill to downtown will have a similar impact on public services.
But it also could be a spectacle that will show us once and for all how much interest there is in Jackson's passing.
It's a pretty safe bet that the crowds will be big.
For KCRW, this has been Kevin Roderick with LA Observed.