December 06, 2011 2:37pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Glee' Sets Michael Jackson Tribute Episode
Fox's Glee is putting its lens on the King of Pop.
The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that the musical dramedy will pay tribute to Michael Jackson with its Jan. 24 episode.
After paying tribute to pop icons Madonna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga, the Jackson installment, as first reported by TV Guide, will feature 10 to 12 songs from the late singer's music library.
Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy told reporters in October during a set visit to mark the show's 300th musical performance that there would be one tribute episode this season -- and that it has been in the works for two years.
While it was uncertain who the focus of the tribute episode was at the time, the showrunner told THR in June that he wasn't sure whether the episode would be a supersized special similar to the show's 90-minute Lady Gaga tribute, "Born This Way," during Season 2.
"I have to talk to [Fox Broadcasting chairman] Peter Rice and [Fox Entertainment president] Kevin Reilly about that," he said of supersizing the tribute episode. "It’s somebody who we’ve all been going after for two years begging them to do it and they finally said yes. And it was a really long rights struggle."
Glee's tribute episodes have had mixed results for the series, with its Spears offering in November 2010 scoring a series high at the time and besting the show's Madonna effort, while its Gaga special didn't fare as well, registering a season low in viewership and the key adults 18-49 demographic for the season to date.
The Jan. 24 episode, the series' second after its return from holiday hiatus, will not be the first time Glee has tackled Jackson tunes. Jackson's "Thriller" was featured during Glee's post-Super Bowl episode and tonight's "Hold on to Sixteen" hour features the "Man in the Mirror," the Jackson 5's "ABC" and Janet Jackson's "Control."
Glee will air its Christmas episode on Dec. 13 before going on hiatus until Jan. 17.