Transcript of “Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes”
This is the transcript and analysis of “Season 25: Oprah Behind The Scenes”, which aired on Friday, January 28th on Oprah’s OWN network. This episode showed exclusive behind the scenes access of Oprah’s groundbreaking interview with Katherine Jackson, and MJ’s children. To see the actual interview, which aired in November, read this post. To read the transcript, read this post.
In order to keep everything clear, I have differentiated when Oprah or her staff sit down and narrate what is going on behind the scenes, and when the behind the scenes footage is actually being shot.
If you have not seen this episode yet, you can watch it below, but unfortunately the quality of the video isn’t very good, but it should be suffice for most people.
Oprah (narrating): The time that I interviewed Michael Jackson in 1993, it was the most exciting interview I had ever done because it was live around the world, and it’s the only time I can recall being so nervous that my knees were literally shaking. It was a big decision around here whether or not to do Katherine Jackson. Seeing Michael Jackson through the eyes of his mother Katherine would be of major interest to me, and also my viewers.
Phone conversation between Oprah’s producer and Howard Mann:
Howard Mann (on the phone): Hello?
Erin Sermeus: Howard? It’s your favorite person!
Howard Mann: Who?
Erin Sermeus: Erin Sermeus!
Oprah (narrating): She’s a pit bull with a smile. She prides herself on being able to book anybody.
Erin Sermeus: This has been such a complicated booking, that I just don’t want any 11th hour, little things we forgot to button up.
Howard Mann: You got it.
Erin Sermeus: OK.
Erin Sermeus (narrating): Trying to book Mrs. Jackson on the show has consumed our lives for months! We want this interview for our final season.
Erin Sermeus: We want to start producing it immediately.
Howard Mann (on the phone): I do to.
Erin Sermeus: Alright Howard.
Howard Mann (on the phone): Alright darling!
Erin Sermeus: Bye.
Erin Sermeus (narrating): I think that’s the biggest interview we can get this year. I really do.
Oprah’s producers talking amongst themselves:
Erin Sermeus: Ok, let me give you the update.
Cindy Mori (narrating): When we first started pursuing the Jackson interview, we never told Oprah that Michael’s children might be a part of the interview because one of my booking mottos is “Under-promise and over-deliver”.
Andrea Wishom: Hi guys! Do you have a second? We have great news!
Cindy Mori: I’m going to let Erin do the honors!
Erin Sermeus: Katherine Jackson and the kids are in!
Sheri Salata: You’re kidding! Really?
Cindy Mori: Yes! October 9th, at their house.
Oprah (narrating): My team, they constantly raise the bar for themselves for me and for the show. And they go beyond anything you can ask. Relentless! They don’t give up!
Sheri Salata: Everybody wanted that interview! That is awesome!
Cindy Mori: The kids are gonna sit down……….
Sheri Salata: Prince, Paris, and Blanket are in?
Cindy Mori: Yeah!
Andrea Wishom (narrating): So Erin and Cindy got the booking of the century, really. I can’t, you know……….it’s unbelievable that they were able to pull this off.
Erin Sermeus: So this will be the world exclusive! Don’t start crying! Then I’ll start crying!
Oprah’s pre-show meeting with her producers:
Erin Sermeus: This is team Katherine Jackson.
Andrea Wishom (narrating): We’re going into our pre-show meeting, and we wanted Oprah to be prepared. Sometimes we’re giving her easy facts, and sometimes we’re telling her brutal truths.
Oprah: This is what’s startling to me: I just learned yesterday, walking out of the building. I did not know that we were interviewing Michael Jackson’s children!
Oprah (narrating): I thought it was Mrs. Jackson, Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, those children! When I realized it was “the” children, I knew our viewers would love that!
Oprah: I never think anything’s big but, I think this is big!
Erin Sermeus: This is big!
Oprah: I thought we were talking to Katherine’s kids! I did not know that! That’s really big! That’s the booking people! This is so funny! So last night I’m telling my friend Gayle King on the phone, you know, on our nightly call in, “Let me see if I’m available!”, and she said “Well what time are you doing that? OMG! This is so big!” and I go “Yes! This is really big!”
Andrea Wishom (narrating): I don’t hear Oprah say “This is big! This is big!” very much, but this is big to us, no question, and it’s big to her too, so she’s reacting to the fact that we booked Mrs. Jackson! The fact that we book Michael Jackson’s children, and there is huge pressure for us to make sure that happens, and ironically that is the one area that I would say feels a little uncertain.
Cindy Mori: We don’t know a lot about them. We’ve been trying to find out little nuggets and pieces, and it may not be as much information as you’d like to know
Oprah: Is his name Prince Michael?
Cindy Mori: It’s Prince Michael, but you’ll call him Prince. There’s Prince Michael the 1st, and the little one is Prince Michael the 2nd, but he goes by Blanket.
Cindy Mori (narrating): Michael Jackson’s kids have never given an interview. This is a huge moment because we knew the world would be watching us.
Oprah: How much time do I have? Because that will determine, you know………….
Cindy Mori: She wants you to stay for dinner.
Oprah: Is she cooking?
Cindy Mori: She hired a chef. So the interview’s at 3pm, and we told her to block out 2 hours because, we don’t know? And if you’d like to stay for dinner, you’re welcome.
Oprah: Pretty fascinating! Is Joe going to be there?
Andrea Wishom: They are not living together, they’re don’t live together.
Cindy Mori: They’re not together.
Oprah: They’re not together, but……..
Andrea Wishom: He lives in Vegas, right?
Cindy Mori: Yeah.
Oprah: Are they still friendly?
Cindy Mori: It seems like they are.
Andrea Wishom: It seems like he’s still very much in charge, in a way, of the matters of Katherine, and maybe to a lesser degree, the children. And that wasn’t the way it was before.
Oprah: Before what?
Andrea Wishom: The way it’s been going for months.
Cindy Mori: He sort of knew in the mix in the last couple of days.
Andrea Wishom (narrating): In a situation like this, you don’t really know what’s going to happen until you’re actually there, looking at someone in their eye, and actually in such a high profile booking, and such a sensitive booking.
Andrea Wishom: Now the “interview”, and let’s use that word in quotes, might be lunch at a picnic in the backyard. It might be a looser conversation…..
Oprah: I know that! It doesn’t matter! I know you’re talking to children………
Cindy Mori: And these are children who have never been interviewed…….
Oprah: I know!
Cindy Mori: Ever!
Oprah: I know!
Andrea Wishom: And they wore veiled!
Oprah: And were veiled! I know!
Jakki Taylor Richardson: And lost their father just a little over a year ago!
Oprah: And he was their world!
Jakki Taylor Richardson: He was!
Oprah (narrating): First of all, children are difficult to interview, and you certainly can’t interview children about the death of a parent. And the first thing I thought about, I have to say, was “Michael Jackson! What would Michael Jackson say about his children being interviewed?” And then, the question is how to do it in such a way that you’re not exploiting the children.
Jakki Taylor Richardson: Now seeing and getting into this, I realize at the end of the day that she’s a grieving mother who has lost her child, and that’s the greatest loss a parent could ever have so I’ve forgotten about any charges, court cases, anything that was a bit odd about Michael Jackson.
Oprah: This was her son!
Jakki Taylor Richardson: Yes! It just……..that’s what it did for me.
Cindy Mori: Yeah, you know………we’re just giving you the picture of what it might look like because they haven’t done this.
Oprah: Well, as you know I’m a very malleable host, and you can tell me whatever you need me to do, and I will be………one of the great things about myself! Let me stop myself from saying that! “One of the great things about myself!” (Sarcasm!) I just did the charisma test in Oprah magazine, and it says that one of the characteristics is being able to be flexible and mold yourself around a situation!
Jakki Taylor Richardson: That’s good to know!
Oprah: You can move with the flow!
Cindy Mori: That’ll be great on Saturday!
Jakki Taylor Richardson: And when you see me Saturday go………
Oprah: That means go with the flow! It means it just went that way!
Cindy Mori (narrating): There’s something really difficult that I have to tell Oprah. There’s something that Mrs. Jackson brought up, and we feel it’s important for Oprah to know, so that everyone is on a level playing field, and there are no secrets, no surprises when we get to their house.
Cindy Mori: One other quick thing: Mrs. Jackson told Erin that her feelings were hurt that they never heard from you after the 1993 interview.
Oprah: But as I have said, and I will tell her, that I feel the same way everybody feels. I left there thinking “Gee, I’d love to be his friend. I’d love to call him up.” But you don’t feel like you can now go call him up! You just don’t feel that! He’s Michael Jackson for goodness sakes! He doesn’t want to talk to me! Because at the end of the interview, he didn’t say “You know what? God, that was so great! Call me sometime!”
Oprah (narrating): I didn’t feel that it was my place to cross that line and call him up and try to befriend him. It’s a business, people, it’s a business!
Oprah: Every celebrity friend that I have is a celebrity friend because they opened the door to me! I wouldn’t do that to somebody that you interview, because otherwise I’d be calling Hugh Jackman everyday! If I was the kind of person who would go around saying “I just want to be your friend! Can I call you afterwards?” You can’t do that, so I will say that to her.
Cindy Mori: Yeah, so just an acknowledgement of some sort so we can get it out of the way or organically if it comes up I think it would be appreciated.
Oprah Ok. Got it!
Cindy Mori: See you Saturday!
Oprah: Big! This is big! THIS IS BIIIIGGGGG!
Behind the scenes at Hayvenhurst with the production crew:
Erin Sermeus (narrating): So I flew out a couple of days in advance of Andrea and Cindy to give Mrs. Jackson some extra TLC, and we’re going to do our walkthrough with Dave Rivera, who’s the field producer.
David Rivera: If you don’t already know, we’re going to walk into the Jackson compound. This is a very, very sensitive shoot. Be on your very best professional behavior, so that means no smoking at all, that means cell phone conversations, don’t have them, no photography at all, do not engage anybody on the property, if you need to know something talk to me or Erin, she’s been working like a dog on this for a long time, and she’s almost like an honorary Jackson at this point. These folks are also really sensitive about being sort of looked at. Any questions? Thanks guys!
Erin Sermeus: Ok! The circus is coming to town! Here they come! Get ready! Everyone should drive fast and look like they’re real small.
Erin Sermeus: I had some nerves and butterflies. I mean pulling was the thing, and I was like “Wow! We’re really here! Michael Jackson’s childhood home, where his children live today!” It becomes very real very quick! There are a lot of players in this interview! A lot! A lot, a lot, a lot! Lowell is Mrs. Jackson’s long time manager. Trent is Mrs. Jackson’s nephew, and he’s sort of I guess her personal aide/ he’s her everything! We’re doing our walkthrough with Dave, and he has his team of production folks. I’m telling everyone to be extremely careful, respectful. This interview could go away! Really! One misstep and it could go away!
David Rivera: So this is the plan guys! This is such a beautiful room, so I think we’re going to put them in here.
Trent Jackson: At first this room was the trophy room. It has all of his gold records, and trophies, and Emmy’s, and Grammy’s, when my aunt came here she wanted to make it a library, so he took it to Neverland.
Erin Sermeus: Where is it now? Is it still there?
Trent Jackson: Yes, it’s in Neverland.
Erin Sermeus: Wow!
David Rivera: So it’s likely that most, if not all of this furniture is going to go out. That is with our department. He’s literally taking a picture of everything so that we know where everything was, so we can put it all back together.
Erin Sermeus: And we’ll delete them, and make sure that………
David Rivera: Yes, they will be in my possession.
Erin Sermeus: I know where he sits!
David Rivera: She knows where I live, so it’s all good!
Trent Jackson: Can you give me five minutes?
Erin Sermeus Oh sure! Do you need me now?
Erin Sermeus (narrating): When any of the people in the Jackson camp pull you aside and say they need something or need you to work something out, I’m there immediately, there’s nothing that’s more important.
Trent Jackson: Me, you, and Lowell need to get together and talk about how we’re going to deal with these kids. We gotta work that out. Oprah has to be involved. Whatever’s going to be with the kids, I’m going to have to have Oprah involved.
Erin Sermeus Well, she’s the one that’s doing everything.
Erin Sermeus (narrating): There are so many different people involved in this interview, that there are a million different rumors going around, there’s a million different versions of what we’re going to do, and what we’re not going to do.
Erin Sermeus She’s the only one that’s going to be talking with them. Do you mean on camera or off camera? Anything on camera is just Oprah. Oprah’s doing everything on camera!
Erin Sermeus (narrating): He expressed a lot of concern about how Michael’s children will be incorporated into this interview. He wants to make sure that Mrs. Jackson felt comfortable; I mean she is their grandmother, she is their protector, she will do anything to make sure that they are handled in the right way.
Trent Jackson: We gotta talk about that, because I’m starting to hear all these different things going around.
Erin Sermeus (narrating): The call I don’t want to make is that Michael’s children will not be participating.
Oprah (narrating): Andrea, she started booking audience, and moving through the producer ranks to now she is Senior Supervising Producer, the only position higher than that is executive producer.
Andrea Wishom (narrating): Erin’s been there for a couple of days, and she really can let Cindy and I know what to do now to make sure that this interview happens.
Erin Sermeus: So this is where we see the sit down conversation happening with Mrs. Jackson and Oprah. Then they’re going to walk this way and go outside…
Andrea Wishom (narrating): I never imagined in a million years that I’d be standing in the Jackson family home, where they all grew up, and where Mrs. Jackson lives, and I couldn’t believe it! In prepping for the shoot, I know that every little detail, and there’s a million of them, has to be looked at, considered, thought through, with a magnifying glass. The world is watching and paying attention, and I know the pressure is on, and the pressure is on me, and I know that this has to go well, and I’m praying that it does.
Hayvenhurst, on the day of the interview when Oprah arrives:
Andrea Wishom (narrating): So today’s the day of the big interview, and the first thing I want to do is make sure that the plan we discussed yesterday is the same plan that everyone is on today! The worst thing that can happen now is the kids could decide that they don’t want to do it. I have to say that I’m a little worried. So much going on, so many different people around, and I’m responsible for the whole thing.
Andrea Wishom Once I go down to the gate to meet her, you guys have to……..
Jakki Taylor Richardson: Yeah!
Andrea Wishom …..it’s like a set! How are we doing on time?
David Rivera: She comes at 3pm.
Andrea Wishom: There’s going to be 2 cars, you want her in the first car, right?
David Rivera: Yes.
Andrea Wishom: Kenya just jumped in the fountain, and I was afraid that Mrs. Jackson would…..
David Rivera: Who? The dog? The dog always does that.
Andrea Wishom: I’m gonna go wait outside the gate, she’s on her way. Brian, she’s on her way! Hey, there’s paparazzi here! I just want you to know so you’ll see him across the street.
Andrea Wishom (narrating): I mean, really? Could anything more happen at this point?
Andrea Wishom: Which side of the car is she on? She shouldn’t be on the right side.
Andrea Wishom: Hi! So just a couple of things first…….it’s like a Michael Jackson convention in there. There’s a lot of people inside the house. Joe Jackson, Mr. Jackson is here.
Oprah: Did you guys invite Mr. Jackson?
Andrea Wishom: No, Mr. Jackson came here from Vegas.
Oprah: Are they saying they’re not divorced?
Andrea Wishom: That’s what they say.
Gayle King: I still think that’s a fair question.
Oprah: Are you a couple?
Andrea Wishom: Yes.
Oprah: She said no holds barred, and we can talk about anything?
Andrea Wishom: Yeah!
Oprah: Including the sexual abuse charges?
Andrea Wishom: Yeah! She’s going to say he was innocent, for sure! They do want to address her finances, and “How are you doing financially?” is a fair question.
Oprah: After Michael died, Thriller had a whatever percentage, I need to know that number, increase in sales? All of his records! I need to know that
Andrea Wishom: The room that you’re going to be doing the interview in was one of Michael’s favorite rooms, it was where his trophies were held, it is in the library. I’m going to hand you my set of blue cards when you’re sitting down. So right now you’re going to greet Mrs. Jackson, then you guys are going to walk inside……….
Oprah: Absolutely everything is on limits? There’s nothing that’s off limits?
Andrea Wishom Yeah, the only thing that has been of conversation is the children, which we’re going to see how that goes. Anytime that they come over and you’re meeting them, I would take the time to opportunity to talk to them then.
Oprah Alright. Is there where I can get some powdered before I get interviewed?
Oprah (narrating): I believe that there’s almost no situation that I can’t handle, and it is whatever it is, and I can just meld into whatever that moment is. I believe in staying present, staying now, dealing with that, and not worrying about what is to come.
Right before and during the interview with Katherine Jackson
David Rivera (speaking to Katherine): You can take her inside if you like, and then I’m gonna walk in with you, and we’ll go do the next thing, OK?
Oprah (speaking to Katherine): How many bedrooms in this house?
Oprah Six bedrooms?
Andrea Wishom (narrating): Joe Jackson, he’s definitely like, um, a very flirtatious guy!
Joe Jackson: Look at you!
Oprah: Well, thank you!
Joe Jackson: Turn around. Look at you! Let me introduce you to one of my producers in Japan! She’s doing my reality show in Japan!
Oprah: You’re doing a reality show in Japan?
Joe Jackson: Yes!
Andrea Wishom (narrating): There were at least 50 people around Mrs. Jackson’s people, and then there’s Mr. Jackson and his people! Friends of the family, and their people! Every time I turn around there were more people. We gotta get going here!
Oprah (narrating): There’s so many different people in the house, and I couldn’t tell who all those people were! What are they doing here? And what are they trying to show me this now for? I’m just trying to meet Mrs. Jackson. I think my team worries more about how things are going to be, and will I be OK, and will everything be OK, more than I do! Maybe one of the reasons I can do that is because I have such a good team. All my life I’ve been doing interviews, and it’s really just sitting there, talking woman to woman.
Oprah: Today we’re going to focus on Michael. Obviously I know you have other children, and I’m not trying to ignore the other children. So tell me, if you can, what it was like, because the children were brought into this house immediately on the night of his death? That had to be traumatic! Because you’re dealing with your grief, and they’re dealing with their grief, and this whole house was grieving! What gave you the strength to get through that?
Katherine: Well, you know what broke my heart more than anything else in the whole world? When people at the hospital told us “You can leave now” and Paris said “Grandma, where are we going?” It tore my heart up!
Oprah: I’m going to stop taping. Let us change tapes.
Oprah (narrating): Mrs. Jackson was one of the loveliest, dearest people I’ve ever met. In that moment, I could see that she’s like every other mother who has lost her son. Who’s gone too soon. That’s what I felt. That was just raw, pure mother’s love and emotion. That’s what that was.
Erin Sermeus (narrating): I was so happy to see Mrs. Jackson and Oprah connecting. Mrs. Jackson finally telling the untold story of her son, and his life, and who he was. There was much more to him than people understood.
Oprah (narrating): We all didn’t know quite what to do with Joe Jackson, because I don’t want to interview Joe Jackson. I’m not there to interview Joe Jackson. But I’m not sure that Joe Jackson knows I’m not there to interview Joe Jackson. I could see he wanted to talk, or was feeling “Why are you talking to her and not me?” And I just thought “Let’s just roll with it”. I don’t know what we’re going to do with it.
Oprah: OK, well I’m really surprised to see you here, Mr. Jackson. Do you all share a home together, or do you, I mean you share whatever part of this you want to share, but I’m just trying figure it out.
Joe Jackson: It’s not hard. She has a home, and I have a place too.
Oprah: Do you regret that Michael felt fearful of you? Do you regret that?
Oprah (narrating): Nobody wants to say they beat their kids! If you were to ask my grandmother, who beat me, she would say “Well, I gave her a spanking every now and then”, oh no no no! It was not a spanking!
Oprah: Was that the way you raised your children?
Erin Sermeus (narrating): These are not easy, breezy questions! I mean, she is going for it! The kids still have not joined the interview! They still have not sat down! I’m getting nervous that the rest of this interview is going to happen!
Joe Jackson: Beat or whipped?
Katherine Jackson: Same thing!
Oprah: It’s the same thing when you have welts on your back!
Katherine Jackson: You might as well admit it! That’s the way black people raised their children!
Oprah (narrating): Listen, we’ve all heard the stories about Joe Jackson, and most of the stories came from his son, Michael Jackson! And I love how Mrs. Jackson said “Just go on and tell her! Tell her the truth!” And later she whispered to me “You know, when we were coming up, we just didn’t know any better!”
Oprah: I can’t believe it’s been all these years, and I never met you! We never met once! Anywhere, for any occasion!
Katherine Jackson: I’m going to cry. I’m going to try to stop crying! I’m trying to hold it back.
Oprah: I’m so honored that you feel that way. Because I feel exactly the same way.
Katherine Jackson: I’m so proud of you!
Oprah: Thank you! Thank you!
Katherine Jackson: As a black woman!
Oprah: I’m holding on!
Andrea Wishom (narrating): As a black woman, I thought that was so great of her! Here she is the head of a dynasty, the Jackson family, and for her to say that is really sincere. It really came from a good place, and I thought that was a really sweet moment.
Joe Jackson: I think it went good.
Andrea Wishom: We made it!
Oprah: Now all the kids are coming!
Erin Sermeus (narrating): Michael’s children are here right now! Oprah, she’s got it! She’s got the wheel, she’s going to make it all happen, as it should!
Oprah: Ok! Introduce yourselves! Hello!
Prince: Prince, nice to meet you!
Paris: Hi, I’m Paris!
Andrea Wishom (narrating): The plan was you’re going to sit down, have some lemonade, and you’re going to talk to the children. And the cousins were there, too.
Oprah: Jermajesty? So are we supposed to bow in your presence? I feel like you deserve a “Jermejesty!” (bows to him)
Oprah: Hey Blanket! Nice to meet you! So shy!
Oprah: So are you guys going to sit down and talk to me?
Prince: Why not?
Oprah (narrating): I wanted to respect the memory of Michael Jackson, and not do it in such a way that we would exploit in any way his children…………because I don’t want the spirit of Michael coming to visit me from the grave!
Oprah: How many do you have? Grandchildren?
Katherine Jackson: 26!
Oprah: 26! Wow! So you’re all cousins?
Oprah: So everybody lives here in different parts of the house?
Oprah: And how’s that working for you?
Randy Jackson, Jr.: Good! It’s been like that our whole lives!
Katherine Jackson: And some were born here.
Randy Jackson Jr.:We’re kind of used to this circus.
Erin Sermeus (narrating): Watching Oprah talk with Michael Jackson’s children, and how well the conversation is going, and the intimate moments that they’re sharing, that are just sweet moments of remembering their dad, it was great!
Oprah: Who’s the funniest?
Oprah: Prince is the funniest?
Oprah: Who’s the strict disciplinarian?
Paris: And Grandma!
Prince: Granma too!
Oprah (narrating): Seeing Michael Jackson, through the eyes of his children, makes him more real, and more accessible than anybody else you could interview, and I sensed that the moment we heard his daughter speak at the funeral. That was a moment that none of us will ever forget.
Paris: He tried to raise us without knowing who he was, but that didn’t really go so well!
Oprah: Is anyone following the whole Jackson family tradition? Anybody in showbusiness? OK, so nobody wants to be a psychologist, or a doctor, or a lawyer?
Erin Sermeus (narrating): What’s wonderful about this is that the world saw Michael Jackson’s children in a very different way than they did a year and a half ago at his funeral. You see 4 vibrant, thriving children who love their father.
Oprah: The first day of school, tell me what happened when you walked into the classroom?
Prince: They said “Say your name, and what your favorite food is”.
Oprah: And you said?
Prince: Prince Jackson, and my favorite food is cookies, or something like that!
Oprah: So Blanket, are you still homeschooled?
Katherine Jackson: He’s shy. Speak up!
Oprah: I hear that you’re a dancer in the group, are you the best dancer?
Oprah: No? Ok. I would have to say that you would be one of my toughest interviews, Blanket! That’s tough! Well, thanks for talking to me!
Later that night, after everyone was finished eating dinner:
Andrea Wishom: Hey, that’s Mr. Jackson! Come here! How did you think it went?
Joe Jackson: Fantastic!
Andrea Wishom: We think so too! We were just talking about how we felt Michael would be proud, and his children are doing well, and people are going to see that they’re happy, they have great lives…..
Joe Jackson: One thing about the fans all over the world are going to be proud,
Andrea Wishom :Yes!
Joe Jackson: That’s why I cater to the fans!
Erin Sermeus (narrating): Mrs. Jackson, she’s such a sweet woman, she had this chef come in, and this wonderful dinner for Oprah and Gayle! It meant a lot to her that Oprah stayed, and shared a meal with the family.
Andrea Wishom (narrating): All these people around, pulling Oprah every which way, taking pictures of her, asking her for things, it was getting really crazy, and I was like “We gotta get Oprah out of here!”
Oprah: I’ve got to say goodbye to Mrs. Jackson, and I’m taking my cake.
Oprah (narrating): I felt a real connection to her, really. I felt a real special connection to her. Just the most normal, sweetest person I’ve ever met, I gotta tell you. That was the interview that I felt from her.
Oprah: I’d like to call you, and just sit down without the cameras.
Katherine Jackson: I would love that!
Oprah: I will do it! I will absolutely do it!
Katherine Jackson: I really enjoyed it!
Oprah (narrating): Now I can see why Michael loved her so much! The humanity and sweetness of her heart has remained exactly the same. It’s like she just moved from Gary yesterday. What I loved about that interview is that there was no pretense whatsoever, and no showmanship.
1. “It was a big decision around here whether or not to do Katherine Jackson. Seeing Michael Jackson through the eyes of his mother Katherine would be of major interest to me, and also my viewers.” Well, that quote pretty much sums up the interview purpose of the interview! Ratings, ratings, and more ratings! Over the course of the show, you will hear Oprah and her staff gleefully celebrate how they got “the booking of the century”, as if Katherine and MJ’s kids are commodities instead of human beings! At least this should put to rest the speculation that Katherine used the kids as bait to get Oprah to interview her so she could plug her book!
2. “Trying to book Mrs. Jackson on the show has consumed our lives for months! We want this interview for our final season.” This quote shows the tenacity that Oprah and her crew pursued the interview. Notice the strong language that they used: “consumed our lives for months!” That means that the decision to pursue the Jackson family wasn’t a knee-jerk decision that took several days or weeks, but it was premeditated and several months in the making!
Just to reiterate how “time consuming” it was to book the Jacksons, here is a quote from Oprah and her producers from her show on December 29th, 2010:
Oprah: I’m here with my HARPO team talking about something we’ve never done before, allowing cameras to document our farewell season. It’s called “Season 25”. There’s a whole department that does nothing but just make calls and try to get people to say yes. The booking department has been in overdrive this season, and we’ve had a lot of exclusive interviews: Michael Jackson’s mother and children, Ricky Martin coming out, Marie Osmond. Andrea, Cindy, and Erin lead that team, and that is so hard!
So, what’s the hardest part?
Andrea: Well, I will start by saying it’s an honor to book for you! And I wouldn’t say the “hardest” part, I would say what might be the most surprising is that everyone doesn’t “yes”! What people always think is it’s easy to book for the Oprah show, because it’s the Oprah show, but sometimes people who you might think would say yes, end up saying “no”.
Oprah: And my rule is I never want anyone to be here unless they really want to be here. So by the time they say yes, it’s a full yes. But the Jacksons were hard, and particularly hard to get the Jacksons to agree to let the children talk………
Andrea: It was a process!!
Oprah: That’s what we use when we say “It was a proooooooooccccccceeeeeeesssssssss!!”
Erin: There are some things you can never do again, and that was a one time event!
3. “And the first thing I thought about, I have to say, was “Michael Jackson! What would Michael Jackson say about his children being interviewed?” And then, the question is how to do it in such a way that you’re not exploiting the children.” In this quote, Oprah makes it seem as if she gives a damn about MJ’s opinion, when in reality she couldn’t care less! If she did, she would not have interviewed his kids under any circumstances! She claims that she wanted to interview them in a way that wasn’t exploitative, but the interview is exploitation in and of itself! Both Janet and Randy Jackson agree with me on this!
4. “Mrs. Jackson told Erin that her feelings were hurt that they never heard from you after the 1993 interview.” Obviously, Katherine and MJ were upset that Oprah didn’t reach out to them after the 1993 scandal, but because there was no money that could be made in defending MJ, Oprah tuned her back on him, and gave a pretty pathetic explanation by trying to pin it on MJ because he didn’t reach out to her first. The fact is, she’d rather invite a convicted rapist (boxer Mike Tyson) and a real child molester (Gerald Imes, brother of comedienne Monique) on her show than MJ! For a list of the many snide and slanderous comments that Oprah has said about MJ over the years, read this post, and this post. For more on Oprah’s hypocrisy regarding her acceptance of violent criminals, read this post.
Oh, and to add insult to injury, in honor of National Poetry Month Oprah will let Mike Tyson publish his poetry in the April issue of “O” magazine! Hey Oprah, why don’t you publish some of MJ’s poems from “Dancing The Dream?”
Here’s something else to consider: in 2007, actor Alec Baldwin left a horrific voicemail to his then 12 year old daughter, in which he called her a “rude little pig” for missing his phone call, among other things. There was some uproar about this, but it quickly subsided. And no, Gloria Allred didn’t hold a press conference calling for Baldwin to not have any contact with his daughter, either! This is clearly a case of child abuse, yet this didn’t stop Oprah from booking him on her show last year! Here is the audio of his voicemail, and next time you hear someone call MJ a bad father, play them this video and ask them how they feel about it!
5. “She said no holds barred, and we can talk about anything? Including the sexual abuse charges?” Yes Oprah, you can ask about the sexual abuse charges for the 100th time already! How long are you going to beat a dead horse? What do you think Katherine is afraid of? Bring it on! Just as your producer said, she will say he was innocent for sure!
And guys, watch the video and look at the disgusted look on her face when she asks this question!
6. “We all didn’t know quite what to do with Joe Jackson, because I don’t want to interview Joe Jackson. I’m not there to interview Joe Jackson. But I’m not sure that Joe Jackson knows I’m not there to interview Joe Jackson.“ Hey Oprah, why don’t you want to interview Joe Jackson? He grieves for MJ the same way that Katherine does! (Although he may not express it in the same way.) Don’t you think Joe’s voice deserves to be heard like Katherine’s and the kids? Oh, that’s right! Joe Jackson won’t bring in phenomenal ratings! He’s not the “interview of the century”! So of course you don’t want to interview him!
And don’t try to say that it’s because Joe Jackson abused his children, because whatever he did to them couldn’t possibly be worse than what Gerald Imes did to his sister Monique, or what Mike Tyson allegedly (and possibly!) did to his rape victim!
7. “I wanted to respect the memory of Michael Jackson, and not do it in such a way that we would exploit in any way his children…………because I don’t want the spirit of Michael coming to visit me from the grave!” Oprah, you don’t know how stupid you sound when you say this! Why would MJ’s spirit visit you from the grave, of all people! He’s too busy watching over his kids! He doesn’t have time for you!
8. “I’d like to call you, and just sit down without the cameras.” Well, this is a complete contradiction to what she said earlier about not calling the people that she interviews because “this is a business”. This shows that, for whatever reason, Oprah wants to reach out to Katherine, and perhaps something good can come out of this. If and when they meet without any cameras, maybe Katherine can be the one to thoroughly discuss the charges with Oprah, and let her know why the Jackson family and the MJ fan community is so disappointed with her. Our perhaps Oprah is trying to ingratiate herself into the Jackson family so she can get on their good side, and position herself for an exclusive interview with the kids when they grow up! Who knows what her true motives are for wanting to speak with Katherine?
Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best! In the meantime, let’s all hope that Oprah has behind the scenes footage of her interview with Teddy Riley and the Cascio family!