One of reality television's strangest — and most surprisingly gripping — phenomena to date is The Michael Jackson Trial (airing weeknights at 9 pm/ET on E!). Having recently spent time on the set of the trial reenactment, we bring you this hour-by-hour account of how E! turns the controversial court case into a daily TV show.
Monday, March 14, 2005
10 am/PT A reporter sneaks out of the courtroom to call producers with details about Jackson's demeanor and the reactions of his 15-year-old accuser. "We're not saying who it is because he works for someone else," says E! senior vice president Jeff Shore, "and we're not sure they know he's double-dipping."
12:17 pm A court reporter e-mails transcripts to executive producers Mark Harris and Simon Bucks. In the next two hours, they will plow through 1000 pages, pulling out the important quotes.
2:30 pm Longtime Jackson doppelg&#228nger Edward Moss, 27, arrives. The Scary Movie 3 actor stands in front of the makeup mirror, ready to transform himself into Jacko. It's something he has done since age 17, when he won $200 in a Halloween costume contest at the McDonald's where he was working.
2:45 pm Moss applies clown makeup to his face. "I got a lot of makeup tips from a Cher impersonator," he says. To create Jackson's nose, he blends a palette of colors from rust to black and even colors in his nostrils.
4:04 pm Taping begins.
4:10 pm Reading from TelePrompTers, Rigg Kennedy, who plays Jackson's attorney Thomas Mesereau, asks the accuser, played by Owen Alabado, if his grandmother or Jackson taught him about masturbation.
6:12 pm A second batch of transcripts arrives.
6:30 pm By way of defending the controversial dramatizations, Bucks says they're "another way of doing journalism, which has been forced on us because of judges who will not allow cameras in the court."
7:30 pm Alabado takes the stand again. "They told me to be more aggressive," he says.
7:43 pm Mesereau reads letters in which the accuser calls Jackson "Daddy Michael."
8:20 pm Mesereau grills the accuser about his relationship with Jay Leno.
Midnight Taping ends.

Tuesday, March 15, 200512:30 am An international dubbing team takes over. "We have a person in one room speaking French, in another Japanese, Italian and German," Shore says.8:30 am Court TV vet James Curtis hosts a roundtable where legal analysts Howard Weitzman, Rikki Klieman and Shawn Chapman Holley comment on the previous day's dramatizations. Their comments will be added to the show before it airs in more than 50 countries later the same day. "This is extremely difficult to pull off," says E! CEO Ted Harbert. "But we are making a lot of noise."