Warner works up Michael Jackson drama

Warner Bros. Television is working up a drama looking into Michael Jackson’s final days after signing a development deal with author and broadcaster Tavis Smiley.

The author’s book Before You Judge Me: the Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days, which publishes next year, is being adapted as a television series, along with My Journey with Maya, about his three-daces friendship with Maya Angelou.

Singer Jackson, known as ‘the King of Pop’, died in June 2009 in controversial circumstances that led to his doctor, Conrad Murray, being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

The exclusive multi-year agreement will see Smiley developing cable and broadcast series with Warner. The projects will be coproductions of Smiley Group and Warner Bros. TV or Warner Horizon Television. Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution will handle global sales.

Smiley is best known in TV circles as host of PBS talk show Tavis Smiley.

Warner and Smiley are already working on a show separate to the new agreement after the Burbank-based studio acquired rights to the author’s Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Final Year. J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions is attached as a coproducer.