Michael Jackson Thought ‘The Jacksons’ TV Show Was a ‘Dumb Move’

Music icon Michael Jackson was known for his powerful stage presence and legendary performance skills. In the 1970s, his whole family’s talents were on display on a short-lived TV show called The Jacksons. But the “Thriller” hitmaker wasn’t a fan of the series.

Michael Jackson on stage
Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1986 | Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Michael Jackson’s family had a TV show

The Jackson family was first introduced to America — and the world — in the 1960s. The Jackson 5 consisted of the brothers Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson, and their young lead vocalist, Michael Jackson. They topped the charts with hit singles such as “ABC” and “I Want You Back” and took the family to stardom from their small hometown of Gary, Indiana.

By the mid-1970s, the Jackson family was the most popular performing family in America. In 1976, the members of the Jackson 5 — along with siblings La Toya, Randy, and Janet — were featured on the variety show The Jacksons. The thirty-minute show aired Wednesday evenings on CBS starting in summer 1976 and airing 12 episodes until March 1977.

As with the Jackson 5’s regular performances, Michael was the lead performer in musical and dance performances. After the series wrapped, he focused on his own music career, starting with his breakout 1979 album Off the Wall. In the 1980s, he solidified his status as the King of Pop with smash albums Thriller and Bad.

Michael Jackson’s didn’t like ‘The Jacksons’ TV show

The Jacksons TV series was acclaimed by many after its first few episodes. But despite the exposure and recognition that the show was bringing Michael Jackson and his family, he wasn’t a fan of the project as a whole.

The 2016 biography Michael Jackson: Rewind: The Life and Legacy of Pop Music’s King examined Jackson’s career from its early days until his death. In private, Jackson actually thought The Jacksons TV show was “a dumb move” and that he “hated every minute of it.”

Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson became stars after ‘The Jacksons’ TV show

Michael Jackson went on to become a global superstar after The Jacksons went off the air. And soon after, in the early 1980s, so did his little sister, Janet. She revealed in a 2022 interview with Allure that music was drilled in them from an early age. “We would always write music growing up. We had a studio at my parents’ house; it’s still there actually,” she said. “So any time of day or night, if you couldn’t sleep or had an idea before school, after school, you could go in the studio and put it down, your idea, musically.”

She released her self-titled debut album in 1982 and rose to dominance alongside her brother over the following decade. Her 1986 album Control made her music’s hottest new star; three years later, she started a whole social movement with her Rhythm Nation 1814 album. She continued her reign in the 1990s and 2000s with albums including JanetThe Velvet Rope, and All For You

In 2022, Jackson’s icon status will be examined in a highly-anticipated two-part documentary event, simply titled Janet Jackson.

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