The TNT Show (lost unaired Michael Jackson sketch; 2009)
|What Channel 4 viewers witnessed during the broadcast. The "break down" was in fact planned by Channel 4 as a reaction following unconfirmed reports about Michael Jackson's death|
The TNT Show was a twelve-part Channel 4 comedy sketch show that was broadcast in 2009, on late evening slots. The show featured jokes about each week's news stories, as well as sketches. It was co-hosted by comedians Jack Whitehall and Holly Walsh, with the show essentially being a second series of another Channel 4 show, Tonightly.
On the 25 June 2009 episode of the show, a sketch featuring a parody of American pop singer Michael Jackson was to be shown. The gag focused on rumours that the real Jackson was not present in public appearances, and was instead hiring impersonators, with Whitehall interviewing a lookalike that happened to have an Essex accent. However, before the sketch could air on Channel 4, the show suddenly went off the air, with a "This program will continue in sound only" error apology message shown in its place. This was eventually changed to a "Programmes with continue shortly" message, with an announcer blaming technical problems for the loss of The TNT Show, assuring viewers that the next programme would be available in the next thirty seconds. This apparent break down ended just before the credits of The TNT Show rolled. It was repeated on Channel 4 +1, and can be found on YouTube courtesy of jeffrey44.
The following day, news broke out that the break down was actually performed deliberately by Channel 4. Before the episode was due to broadcast, at around 11:15 p.m., unconfirmed reports stipulating that Jackson had passed away began circulating, with said rumours being confirmed true shortly after. A Channel 4 spokesperson stated that in light of this news, the sketch, which had been recorded two days prior, would not be broadcast due to its clear inappropriateness.
Although the "break down" can be found on YouTube thanks to jeffrey44, images and footage of the Michael Jackson sketch intended to air have yet to be found. Due to its poor timing and the fact that The TNT Show has not been broadcast for years on Channel 4, it is highly unlikely that it will be released by the channel as a result.
The episode was available for 30 days after its initial airdate on the Channel 4 on demand service 4oD. This makes it possible that someone recorded the episode and possibly the unaired segment. However, it is unknown if the Michael Jackson sketch was available on 4oD or was fully removed from the episode out of respect.