Conrad Murray is no doubt wishing he hadn’t done that controversial Michael Jackson documentary and companion interview after an angry judge cited them several times Tuesday to explain why he was sentencing the late pop star’s doctor to the max possible: four years in the slammer.
The documentary, “Michael Jackson and the Doctor: A Fatal Friendship” (or as it was called when it aired in the United Kingdom: “The Man Who Killed Michael Jackson”) ran on MSNBC this month — days after a jury in Los Angeles found Murray guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s June 2009 death.
Murray was convicted of administering a lethal dose of propofol and other drugs to the sleep-deprived Jackson in the singer’s home. At the time, Jackson was preparing to stage a career comeback with a series of concerts.
Shot before the conviction, the docu shows Murray and his team preparing his defense over two years. In “Michael Jackson,” Murray says, “I don’t feel guilty because I did not do anything wrong.”
Which just goes to show you — Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said Tuesday, shortly before unveiling Murray’s sentence — that the doctor has no sense of remorse in Jackson’s death.
Pastor cited “the long-standing failure of character on the part of Dr. Murray to serve his patient” in his decision. The judge added: “I can’t say that my opinion changed after I became aware of the production involving Dr. Murray after the jury verdict in this case.”
Although Murray’s defense team acknowledged “that there’s fault here,” the judge said, Murray did not express this sentiment in his interactions with the security staff at Jackson’s home, the paramedics who responded to the scene, the doctors at the hospital to which Jackson was conveyed, the detectives of the Los Angeles Police Department — “and you certainly didn’t hear it during Dr. Murray’s interview in this faux documentary/faux reality production.”
Pastor, on a roll, continued to vent:
“And where Dr. Murray at that point [in the documentary] says he feels betrayed and entrapped by Michael Jackson — yikes! Talk about blaming the victim! Not only isn’t there any remorse — there’s umbrage and outrage on the part of Dr. Murray against the decedent without any indication of the slightest involvement in this case!”
The judge then denied Murray probation and sentenced him to four years in the hoosegow.
The incensed judge wondered whether the recording of Jackson’s slurred voice that Murray made not long before the singer’s death might have been part of some other documentary designs:
“That tape recording was Dr. Murray’s insurance policy. It was designed to record his patient surreptitiously at that patient’s most vulnerable point. . . . I can’t help but wonder that if there had been some conflict between Michael Jackson and Dr. Murray, at a later point in time in their relationship, what value would be placed on that tape recording — if the choice were to release that tape recording to a media organization.”
Anyone watching Tuesday morning’s sentencing got an early sense of what was coming when Pastor flicked aside the defense’s request to remove TV cameras and audio recording devices from the courtroom to protect Murray’s privacy. Pastor asked Murray’s attorneys how they could “square that” argument with the fact that Murray allowed cameras to follow him and his defense team around for that “un-reality show” that MSNBC telecast after the jury verdict.
Remember how TV “experts” predicted that viewer outrage over the blink-of-an-eye and possibly-made-for-TV-ratings marriage of Kim Kardashian and former Nets power forward Kris Humphries would cripple The Kardashian Network — a.k.a. E!?
Well, you can file those pundits in the same heap into which you tossed those navel-gazers who predicted that David Letterman’s 2009 on-air confession about sex with an intern would cripple his CBS late-night show’s ratings.
Letterman’s ratings improved after the confession, in fact — particularly among young guys because, duh, they’re young guys.
And according to the numbers-crunching company Nielsen, Sunday’s second-season debut of E!’s “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” attracted slightly more viewers (3.2 million viewers) than did the series’ launch in January.
To be fair, it’s not like this was some huge ratings bonanza, either — the two-part Kim & Kris “wedding” special in October clocked 4.2 million viewers. But the 3.2 million who tuned in was on par with September’s sixth-season finale of the Kardashian programming mothership: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
“Well, we received THE call . . . #PanAm is only coming back for one more episode after Christmas. But up to the end, we’ll give it our all!” Vanasse, who plays a French stewardess on the show, tweeted earnestly.
ABC quickly responded.
“Nothing has changed. We are not canceling ‘Pan Am,’ ” the network said in a statement. “We are still in production and will continue to be in production, finishing the original 13 episodes plus one more additional one. We have one more original episode this coming week, Dec. 4, and then will return in January with new episodes, airing all of them.”
“ ‘Pan Am’ is still in contention for next season,” the network continued for good measure.
Production company Sony weighed in as well, telling a Daily Beast reporter that the show is “still kicking.”
Sure enough, about an hour after she caused “Pan Am” to skyrocket to the top of Twitter trending lists, Vanasse was back.
“Sorry for the confusion #PanAm fans,” she tweeted cheerfully. “We still have 5 episodes to air until February! :)”