Michael Jackson dominates Euro media

TV nets reschedule programs for extended coverage

More Michael Jackson coverage

LONDON -- Michael Jackson's death dominated newscasts across Europe as the continent woke up to the news Friday morning.

All of the news media outlets here cleared the decks to make way for the news of the King of Pop's death, reaction to it and the welter of speculation over what might have caused the 50 -year-old singer to suffer a fatal heart attack.

His death dominated every national newspaper front page after the news emerged before printing presses rolled Thursday evening. And rolling news channels from satcaster Sky News, cable channel CNN, and the BBC's 24 news channel spent all day picking over the story.

Even business networks took up the story, with CNBC linking live to an NBC reporter on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to get updates on any news emerging in Los Angeles on the circumstances and business implications of the singer's death.

On the main networks in the U.K., broadcasters ripped up their primetime schedules in order to focus on news of the King of Pop's death and schedule tributes retrospectives looking back over a 40-year career.

The BBC will air a half-hour news special at 7.30 p.m. in place of "Air Medics" on BBC1 and a look back at the singer's career on BBC2 at 11 p.m.), and has also changed scenes in its flagship evening soap "EastEnders" to reflect the singer's death.

ITV will run an hour-long show at 9 p.m. in place of popular medical drama "Doc Martin" and The Five channel will show an 8 p.m. hour-long tribute "Michael Jackson: The King of Pop."

And it was no different for news gatherers on the continent either.

In Germany -- where Michael Jackson is remembered as much for his music and for infamously dangling his baby off a Berlin hotel balcony -- news of his death had dominated the airwaves.

Commercial channels led with the story all day and even the public networks dedicated substantial airtime to Jackson.

Leading network RTL scrapped its primetime schedule in favor of a live special dedicated to Michael Jackson's life and death.

Pubweb ZDF also bumped its regularly scheduled programming to slot in a magazine special on the "Thriller" star. Sat.1 followed suit, with a Michael Jackson-themed edition of its regular access primetime show "Sat.1 Magazin."

German music channels VIVA and MTV Germany inserted black memorial banners to Michael Jackson on their websites and aired tribute programs throughout the day.

Smaller music vid channel Deluxe went a step further, airing only Michael Jackson videos from the early morning till midnight Friday.

Jackson's death was the top story on all programs across the board in Spain, but few actually shifted their programming on Friday.

Instead most preferred to incorporate the news into existing schedules and allowing it to displace previously determined topics on gossip programs, news programs and talk shows.

Even so, many of them, including free-to-air channel Cuatro were revamping weekend programming to incorporate special programming -- hosted by an eminent Spanish music critic -- on Sunday afternoon. Music channel 40TV was dedicating the entire weekend to Jackson's videos, music and life with special interviews, programming and footage.

Pamela Rolfe in Madrid and Scott Roxborough in Cologne, Germany, contributed to this report.
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