With last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and 2009’s Star Trek, J.J. Abrams focused on faraway galaxies. Now, however, the producer is turning his attention to one of the biggest stars from our own planet. Abrams has joined forces with Tavis Smiley on a new TV event series based on the final days of music superstar Michael Jackson, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The two are also working on a series based on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The series is an adaptation of Smiley’s upcoming book, Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days, which is written with David Ritz and set to be released Tuesday. The book examines the last four months of Jackson’s life, showing the ups and the downs. The publisher, Little Brown and Co., describes it as a “humanizing look” at the King of Pop, who died in 2009.
Abrams and Smiley are working with Warner Bros. Television on the series, making it their second collaboration. The duo’s other joint project is also an adaptation with WBTV. The book, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Final Year, is yet another written by Smiley with Ritz.
So far, the Jackson series has not been set up at a network, but it is likely to be shopped to numerous companies, including broadcast, cable, premium cable, and streaming. Ben Stephenson and David Brewington are also executive producers on the project. Given the creative team on board and the popular subject matter, it should easily find a home.
Although Abrams’ work in film has been particularly notable in recent years, he has been staying busy with TV projects as well. In addition to these recent event series projects, he also serves as executive producer on HBO’s controversial upcoming series Westworld and Showtime’s new series Roadies.