This week TheWrap kicks off a five-part investigative series about Michael Jackson and John Branca, the lawyer who now runs his estate.
Researched and written over the better part of the last year by Johnnie Roberts, the series explores the tempestuous relationship between the pop star and his financial manager – one that led to Branca’s hiring and refiring over decades, the last time just a week before Jackson died.
There are many revelations in the series; the first segment looks at a little-explored deal to sell the Beatles and Mijac catalogues to Goldman Sachs, to alleviate Jackson’s crushing debts in 2003. TheWrap got copies of documents that show that Branca stood to make millions off that deal, which ultimately did not close.
Other parts of the series will reveal how Branca won the Beatles catalogue in a brilliant maneuver, how he got Michael Jackson to do the “Thriller” video with John Landis after the pop star had stated his firm opposition to it. (Both moves were the most financially significant in Jackson’s career.)
This series confirms our commitment to long-form investigative journalism in the digital age. We hope that the serialized format makes for compelling reading on the web.
It is one of many exciting new ventures that we are exploring as we grow toward our second anniversary.
While I’m at it, I may as well let you know that TheWrap was awarded the 2010 Journalism Award by the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors at a lovely ceremony in Beverly Hills on Sunday night.
We’re incredibly pleased to be recognized by independent content creators whose focus is on elevating the quality of programming in television and new media.