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CBS pulls Michael Jackson special after issue of warrant

NEW YORK - The American television network CBS has postponed plans to screen a special programme on Michael Jackson in the wake of a police raid on the entertainer's ranch and a warrant being issued for his arrest.

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CBS, which is owned by Viacom, had announced the hour-long programme only last Monday. Called 'Michael Jackson Number Ones', it was due to be screened in the US on Wednesday next week and was to feature Jackson's new single 'One More Chance'.

But following the revelation that a warrant has been issued by Santa Barbara police for the arrest of Jackson on multiple child molestation charges, CBS has pulled the show.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: "Given the gravity of the charges against Mr Jackson, we believe it would be inappropriate at this time to broadcast an entertainment special.

"However, we are very mindful that Mr Jackson is innocent until proven guilty. We will consider broadcasting the special after the due process of the legal system has run its course."

Jackson has long faced questions over his involvement with children, following an out-of-court settlement 10 years ago, which resulted in him paying $18m to the family of a boy.

It came to light once again during Martin Bashir's infamous ITV interview with Jackson, where the singer said that he had children sleeping over at his house. "The most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone," he told Bashir.

CBS was at the centre of controversy only two weeks ago, over a drama called 'The Reagans'. The network pulled the drama but said that it was because it did not present a balanced view of the former president, and not because of criticism from conservatives who described it as a hatchet job.

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