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E! to Re-Create Jackson Trial

1/12/2005 2:44 AM Eastern

Los Angeles -- E! Entertainment Television will team up with British Sky Broadcasting Group plc to develop a daily show re-enacting the upcoming Michael Jackson trial.

E! will air a 30-minute show in primetime each night featuring actors who will re-enact the previous day's courtroom events based on verbatim court transcripts, E! Networks CEO Ted Harbert said Tuesday during the network's Television Critics Association tour session here.

In addition, a panel of legal analysts will provide commentary on the trial, in which Jackson is accused of sexually abusing a child.

Jury proceedings are scheduled to begin Jan. 30, with the trial starting about one month later.

Herbert rebutted concerns from several reporters that the show will be sensationalist in nature. "This has been done before. It's a case of obvious worldwide interest," he said. "Giving accurate depictions of testimony is, I don't think, anything close to crossing any lines that haven't been jumped over a thousand times by a lot of news outlets."

In other E! news, the network will jump into the white-hot poker-programming arena with the March launch of Hollywood Poker Night. Each hour-long episode will profile a celebrity's house and culminate with a poker game featuring the celebrity and several friends, E! executives said.

Actors Macaulay Culkin, Andy Dick, Shannon Elizabeth and Chris Masterson and skater Tony Hawk will appear on the series.