MTV Locks Up TV Rights for Jackson's "This Is It"

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MTV, VH1 and all the other music-related channels under the Viacom umbrella have acquired the exclusive television rights to air Michael Jackson's concert rehearsal documentary This Is It starting in 2011. Terms of the deal were not announced, but ancillary stations like VH1 Classic, BET, Palladia and more will all be able to broadcast the film, the Los Angeles Times reports. Additionally, MTV said they'd work with Sony Pictures to help promote the release of the This Is It DVD, expected out in early 2010.

Read our opening night review of This Is It.

Michael Jackson's legendary music videos, particularly "Thriller," helped elevate MTV to prominence, so it's fitting that the King of Pop's final vision will be aired on the network. "Michael Jackson has always been inextricably tied to our viewers as they witnessed his evolution from talented performer to global icon who redefined music," said MTV president Van Toffler. "Now, with this film, we can help give his fans a chance to see his final performance."

Look back at Michael Jackson's most memorable moments.

While This Is It has underperformed domestically, making slightly more than the $60 million Sony spent on acquiring the footage, the documentary has done incredibly well overseas, pushing This Is It's total revenues north of $200 million. The film was originally only supposed to be released in theaters for a two-week limited engagement, but the run was extended an additional three weeks after it was determined the DVD could not be released in time for Christmas.

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