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Michael Jackson's death leaves AEG in the lurch

June 25, 2009 |  5:42 pm

JACKSON The death of Michael Jackson came just weeks before he was to start a series of comeback concerts that the onetime King of Pop hoped would relaunch his career and straighten out his finances.

02-AEG-PRIMARY-LOGO Now concert promoter AEG Live is left in the lurch. The company, which is owned by reclusive media mogul Philip Anschutz, had shelled out more than $20 million on the concerts. "High School Musical" director Kenny Ortega had been brought in to oversee the elaborate production of the shows, which were being rehearsed near the Burbank Airport. Just last month, AEG Chief Executive Randy Phillips told the Los Angeles Times that Jackson's concert shows were going to be "the biggest, most technologically advanced arena show -- and the most expensive -- ever mounted."

The 50 shows that Jackson had committed to at London's O2 arena had sold out. Presumably those tickets, which were going for hundreds of dollars, will be refunded. AEG's Phillips had said that Jackson had taken a four-hour physical that revealed no medical problems. AEG had said previously that it had gotten insurance for about half of the Jackson shows and would self-insure the rest.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Michael Jackson. Credit: Markus Schreiber / Associated Press