The TNT Show (lost unaired Michael Jackson sketch of Channel 4 comedy show; 2009)
The TNT Show was a twelve-part Channel 4 comedy sketch show that was broadcast on late evening slots in 2009. 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. Notably, one sketch parodying Michael Jackson was pulled from airing by Channel 4 because of unconfirmed reports stating that the real Jackson had passed away.
On the June 25th, 2009 episode, a sketch featuring a parody of American pop singer Michael Jackson was 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 with an Essex accent. However, before the sketch could be broadcast on Channel 4, the show suddenly went off-air with a "This program will continue in sound only" message shown in its place. This was later changed to a "Programmes will continue shortly" message, with an announcer blaming technical problems for the loss of the show. This apparent technical failure ended midway through the credits rolling. This was repeated on Channel 4 +1.
The following day, news broke out that cut to an apology message 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 the episode finished airing. A Channel 4 spokesperson stated that in light of this news, the sketch, which had been recorded two days prior to the broadcast, would not be shown due to its clear inappropriateness.
Although the removal of the sketch can be found on YouTube thanks to jeffrey44, images and footage of the Michael Jackson sketch intended to air have yet to be found. 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. However, it is unlikely that Channel 4 would leave the sketch in the episode considering the circumstances that led to it being removed in the first place.
- Guardian reporting on the removal of the sketch. Retrieved 26 Aug '17
- Chortle reporting on the removal of the sketch. Retrieved 26 Aug '17
- Web Archive link to the episode when it was on 4oD. Retrieved 9 Sep '17