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Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil: Reality TV show coming too

April 20, 2010 | 12:03 pm

Michael Jackson dancing

A just-announced collaboration between Michael Jackson’s estate and Cirque du Soleil also includes plans for a reality TV show along the lines of “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” to discover a young choreographer to help develop an arena tour and permanent show in Las Vegas built on Jackson’s music, dancing and life story.

The TV show, in the discussion stage but targeted to be on the air sometime early in 2011, would audition young dance enthusiasts from across the globe in search of “someone young, who is cutting edge, from the outside, someone in the streets, who can bring that style that no one’s ever seen before, like Michael always did,” John Branca, co-executor of Jackson’s estate, said Tuesday.

The parties believe the combination of Jackson’s name, Cirque’s reputation and a talent discovery show similar to two of the most popular shows on television right now will make it a hit.

The show’s winner would join two other professional choreographers to be selected by the team assembling the concert-style arena tour slated to get under way in the fall of 2011, and a Jackson-themed permanent show in Las Vegas.

“There is not a lack of creativity around the table,” Cirque President and CEO Daniel Lamarre said Tuesday. “We’re just starting to work closer together, and those are the initial ideas we’ve decided to go ahead with. But there are other ideas. We will be pursuing lots of lifestyle ideas. That’s only the beginning of our bold, creative forces working together.”

The deal with Cirque is just the latest in an aggressive series of grand-scale projects Jackson’s estate has undertaken in  recent months, in addition to the concert film and DVD “This Is It” from the tour that was aborted when he died last June and a new long-term contract with Sony Music covering reissues as well as new compilations of previously unissued recordings and, potentially, video games.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Michael Jackson in the movie "This Is It." Credit: Kevin Mazur