Michael Jackson‘s death on June 25 rocked the foundation of the legendary Jackson family clan. But to Jermaine Jackson, who was hard at work shooting a pilot for A&E with his brothers, the show had to go on.
“We never had any question about [stopping the show],” said a somber Jackson to reporters on Friday. “This would be the best connection to feed the fans and continue to keep the legacy alive.”
This connection took the form of A&E’s ‘The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty,’ premiering on December 13. The series documents the every day lives of Michael’s brothers – Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Jackie – as they prepared for the Jackson 5 anniversary reunion, which Michael was reportedly planning to join.
But Michael’s sudden death from heart complications stemming from “acute propofol intoxication” put an end to those plans.
Executive producer Jodi L. Gomez explained how her production team dealt with the passing. “We completed the first pilot June 19. And Michael passed, after we wrapped, on June 25,” adding that they they re-cut the ending to “reflect the brother’s feelings at the moment.”
“Honesty was very important to them,” she said.
Through the family’s sadness and the intense media scrutiny, there was never any question about scrapping the project. “There was consensus that it would continue,” Jermaine said about rest of the Jackson clan. “We pause when it came time to mourn. But we knew we had lost a major part of the Jacksons.”
After nearly 6 months since Michael’s death, Jermaine says the wound of losing a brother is still fresh. “We’re still mourning. We’ll be mourning for God knows how long,” he said. “We think of him at every moment. To lose a sibling is very, very tough. ”
And if the end result was to do something for the fans, and to continue Michael’s legacy, the goal is even more salient right now. “Knowing that the type of person he was, he will always be that person in our eyes,” said Jermaine. “We are a lot like a family is supposed to be. The respect for each other, the love for the mother and father, [doing] as you can for other people. That was our message and our music. That was Michael’s message. We’re gonna continue to do that.”
The series premieres Sunday, December 13 with back-to-back one-hour episodes beginning at 9:00pm ET/PT. The series will then move to its regularly scheduled time, Sunday’s at 10:00pm ET/PT beginning December 20 on A&E.