The run-up to the broadcast of HBO’s Michael Jackson documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ was defined by an avalanche of media coverage.
Controversial from its announcement, the Dan Reed production spotlighted two men who accused the singer of abuse – despite previously testifying under oath that the star never did anything of the sort.
Still, the trio did the press rounds touting their narrative. However, they were followed at every turn by supporters of Jackson who presented compelling (and oft overlooked) evidence that cast a cloud of doubt over the claims. Including the fact that one of the men, Wade Robson, only launched his campaign after trying and failing to secure work in a Las Vegas show mounted in Jackson’s honor.
The late legend’s Estate took the fight a step further by filing a $100 million lawsuit against HBO – citing a breach of contract about representation of Jackson’s character relating to an earlier deal..
For both sides, the battle-lines had clearly been drawn. And with all the debate it ignited, the one consensus seemed to be that a ratings win was a cert.
Yet, with the figures revealed, it appears the public just weren’t that interested.
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According to TV By The Numbers, night one of the broadcast attracted an audience of 1.2 million.
And while it’s not a paltry figure, it paled in comparison to other cable shows on that evening. Indeed, it was bested by a mid-season episode of ‘The Real Housewives Of Atlanta’ (1.9 million) and Hallmark movie ‘When Calls The Heart’ (2.3 million).
But it gets worse.
Night two saw the doc dive under the 1 million mark, commanding just 927,000 viewers. Meaning it was topped VH1 reality series ‘Love & Hip-Hop’ (1.2 million) and ‘House Hunters’ on the Home channel (1.4 million).
While it’s safe to assume the numbers will be chopped and screwed to present another narrative (see: +1, on-demand, and the like), there’s only so much to work with. And by that, we mean…not much.
What is apparent is that whichever side of the fence folk are on as pertains the Pop polarizer, the doc didn’t prove a compelling enough prospect for additional dissection of a figure who’s been dissected to granular degrees – in both life and death.