TAVIS SMILEY TEAMS UP WITH J.J. ABRAMS' BAD ROBOT PRODUCTIONS FOR TV ADAPTATION OF SMILEY'S UPCOMING MICHAEL JACKSON BOOK BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME, FOR WARNER BROS. TELEVISION
BURBANK, Calif. (June 20, 2016) - Broadcaster/author/producer Tavis Smiley and J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions are joining forces to develop an event television series based on Smiley's upcoming book Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days, for Warner Bros. Television (WBTV), where both Smiley and Bad Robot have TV deals.
To be published June 21, 2016, by Little, Brown and Company, Before You Judge Me is a taut novelistic rendering of the final months in the life of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture, Michael Jackson. The book examines the soaring highs and deep lows faced by the late pop star - his constant hunt for privacy in a life that was more public than almost any other, and the pressures he endured as someone whose fame made him socially fragile and almost unable to live. The publication of Before You Judge Me will be supported by a nationwide book tour and media appearances by Smiley.
Smiley, Abrams, Ben Stephenson and David Brewington will serve as executive producers on Before You Judge Me, which will be produced by Bad Robot Productions and Tavis Smiley TV & Film in association with WBTV.
The deal for Bad Robot to board Before You Judge Me marks the latest collaboration between Smiley TV & Film, Bad Robot and WBTV. It was previously announced in April 2015 that the three companies are developing an event series based on Smiley's book Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Final Year. Published in 2014, the book recounts the final 365 days of King's life and became a New York Times best seller.
It was subsequently announced in October 2015 that Smiley had signed an exclusive multi-year development and production pod deal with Warner Bros. Television Group, with Before You Judge Me and another Smiley book adaptation - My Journey with Maya, a memoir of the author's nearly 30-year friendship with the renowned poet Maya Angelou - earmarked as the first two projects to be developed under the deal.
Before You Judge Me, Death of a King and My Journey with Maya are all written by Tavis Smiley and David Ritz.
Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS as well as The Tavis Smiley Show from Public Radio International (PRI).