The Last Days of Michael Jackson angered the Jackson estate and got mostly negative reviews from fans on Twitter, but it turned out to be a hit for ABC.
The primetime special about the late King of Pop helped ABC score a ratings victory on a relatively slow (ratings-wise) Thursday night.
Airing from 8-10 p.m., the documentary brought in 5.6 million viewers, according to TV By the Numbers.
On NBC, Celebrity Ninja Warrior was watched by 3.7 million viewers, while Terrence Howard’s Fright Club on Fox garnered 1.5 million viewers.
Read More: Michael Jackson Estate Blasts ABC Over ‘Last Days’ TV Special
CBS won the 8 p.m. hour with repeats of The Big Bang Theory with 6.7 million viewers and Young Sheldon with 6.2 million. But CBS’ ratings slipped at 9 p.m., giving ABC a win for the night.
The special about Michael Jackson made the news before it even aired when his estate said the documentary was made without its consent, and bashed it as an “attempt to exploit” the singer’s life.
Following complaints from Jackson’s legal team, ABC removed an image the estate said was being used in promotional materials without its consent. But the special aired as planned.
Read More: ABC Cancels ‘The Chew’ After Seven Seasons
Over on Twitter, fans were not particularly impressed and took countless swipes at ABC.
Many people complained that the special failed to offer any new information about Jackson – whose chart-topping solo albums included Thriller, Off the Wall and Bad. They said it simply rehashed old news and interviews.
“I thought this was supposed to be about the LAST DAYS of MJ,” one fan tweeted. “This more like the BAD DAYS of MJ.”
I thought this was supposed to be about the LAST DAYS of MJ ????? this more like the BAD DAYS of MJ ? #LastDaysMJ
— SuzyQ (@hope_won) May 25, 2018
Another person called the documentary special “distasteful.”
#LastDaysMJ showing his dead photos and his body being transported is really distasteful…
— ?????TheDevilHerself (@IStillRockLocs) May 25, 2018
But there were some people who enjoyed the doc, with one person saying it offered “further insight into what a genius” Jackson was.
#LastDaysMJ is further insight into what a genius #MichaelJackson was and illuminates further why he became the icon we know today!
— Dolores Hooban (@LadyLeo804) May 25, 2018
Someone else said it reminded them that Jackson was a “LEGEND.”
Watching #LastDaysMJ. He was a LEGEND. Hearing the strategy behind the release of Thriller = wow.
— Drew Sykes ?? (@drewsykes) May 25, 2018
You can read more reactions to The Last Days of Michael Jackson below.
I actually had hope in this documentary it started off decent…but once again this is another attempt to slander his legacy. #LastDaysMJ
— Princess ? (@materialgirl_me) May 25, 2018
Turn the channel. Turn it off. Michael gave us too much to be watching incomplete stories about his life. I want all or nothing. Just like he gave. @ABCNetwork #LastDaysMJ
— DanaMichele (@MakeNoteofM) May 25, 2018
Why didn’t they mention that the autopsy showed he did actually have vitiligo? No need to talk about it like it’s speculation anymore.. #LastDaysMJ
— ? Bry ? (@lovelybry3) May 25, 2018
I’m disgusted. The man who took the last photo of Michael sold it for 6 figures claiming he felt bad for it. I highly doubt it. #LASTDAYSMJ
— ?????? (@Erry_2nd_Counts) May 25, 2018
Watching this just makes me sad and truly angry bc Mike was surrounded by snakes, especially throughout his later years and he really didn't have anybody. #LastDaysMJ
— ?scoobert (@rmlv3r) May 25, 2018
It's pretty clear that @abc didn't get rights to any of @michaeljackson's music for this #lastdaysmj special. pic.twitter.com/nJfz8rsh3E
— s (@STL_PROG) May 25, 2018