‘The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty,’ kicks off Sunday, December 13 on A&E.
The series will follow the remaining Jackson brothers – Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Jackie – as they prepare to embark on a 40th reunion tour of the legendary band, The Jackson 5.
But the show will take a somber turn when the family is suddenly forced to deal with the death of their brother Michael.
Jermaine recently talked to reporters about how the family is dealing with Michael’s loss, how they handled the delicate task of keeping the privacy of his kids intact, and how he thinks Michael would have felt about the final cut of the A&E reality show.
Check out a photo gallery of the new show on Fancast
How are you guys doing privately, both the family and individually?
Well to be honest we think of him every moment. And it’s really hard because – to lose a sibling it is very, very tough. And knowing that the type of person he was and he will always be that person in our eyes and everyone else’s eyes. Now that they’ve seen ‘This Is It‘ and they can see how we are on the show we are – we’re a lot like a family is supposed to be. The respect for each other, the love for the mother and father and to do as much as you can for other people that was our message and our music through the lyrical content with Michael’s message. So we’re going to continue to do that. We’re finding it tough to sort of hear the old music and just to look at certain things – certain old footage because it brings back a lot of memories especially Jackie, myself and Marlon and Tito again, because we’ll never be the Jackson 5 again – never.
Will Michael’s children be involved in the show? There was some speculation that they would be, regardless of Michael’s wishes.
Well to try and answer that question the best way I can, there was never any intentions or any sense of putting Michael’s kids in the show…prior to when Michael was alive and we would never do that. And the fact there was never even a question or a point to ask him when he was here to put his kids in this show. So we kept them private, and we’re going to continue to do that as best as we can. But there are many, many, many, many other Jacksons that can generate some kids who are just raring to go. And this show, it’s about the Jackson Family but we wouldn’t want to send off the wrong signal by putting his kids in there. And then all of the sudden there is a big wave of media saying we’re exploiting his kids now that he’s not here.
Will your father, Joe Jackson, be featured in the show?
Well we – well I guess the plan was to establish the brothers pretty much. And that focus was because of the whole Jackson legacy and Michael’s passing and things. But eventually we’re definitely going to work him in because he is the reason why we’re doing what we’re doing – absolutely.
Do you feel that Michael’s death had an effect on the popularity of the show?
No, it didn’t have an effect one way or the other from my perspective only because we had been voted as the number one family for the world to know more about way before Michael’s passing. I mean us and then the Kennedys and then on and on. Primetime TV is only – would only make everything more exciting. I mean the fans definitely with Michael’s passing, they wanted a closer connection. And we felt that this would be something that Michael would want us to continue to do.
Any plans to continue on with the Jackson 5 tour as previously scheduled?
I was just going to say yes, those plans are in the works but you have to wait to see where it goes in the actual show.
Was it hard to have the cameras around all the time?
Well no because we have cameras on us all the time anyway. So it was just part of our daily life really to tell you the truth. Because we can’t go anywhere where there is not a paparazzi or just somebody sending something to create a story (but) yet to create a story of their own.
How much input did you have in the editing of the final product?
Well [series producer Jodi Gomes] and I first put the whole thing together from the very beginning. And so we’ve always had our hands involved. My involvement was pretty much representative of the brothers. But we always been right there to make sure that – we pretty much revealed on camera what we do in everyday life. I think the challenge was to edit it to tell the best story. But it was nothing that we had to come back and say well take that out, or take this out – no.
If Michael was still with us – you knew him so well – what do you think he would say about the finished product?
I feel he would be very, very proud and I’ll tell you why- it’s because this is no more different from what we normally do every day. And then when he is with us it’s pretty much the same thing. And to capture that and not have it scripted and it’s what our lives are all about. And at the same time it’s what the fans and the public have not seen. They’ve seen us on stage and they see what we do but this is us off stage and out of the media’s eye pretty much.
Producer Jodi Gomes: And also if I can add to that he was very aware of the show and aware that we were filming it and was very helpful with us in terms of clearing music and the use of his music and was just very supportive of his brothers. Even when he was rehearsing we – even when he was rehearsing, he would check in and make sure we had all the music clearances and things we needed to take care of his brothers.
What are your special holiday plans, Jermaine, with the family?
Well, we have different places that we go. I’m probably going to be in the UK and Morocco. And I guess the rest of the brothers are going to be probably in different locations. But we had our family Thanksgiving a few days before the actual holiday, where the whole family was together. And the fact that my mother doesn’t celebrate any of these days, so we have to plan them a different way, days before the actual holiday. And so the family gets together and we have a bunch of food and we just play games and we act – because my mother loves games. And so she plays Pictionary and all that stuff and…and we do just – that’s we do.
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, Sundays at 10:00pm ET/PT beginning December 20 on A&E.