‘Last Days of Michael Jackson’ Scores Ratings Hit for ABC Despite Criticism

Last Days of Michael Jackson. (Credit: ABC)

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 MoreMichael 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 MoreABC 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 ThrillerOff 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.”

Another person called the documentary special “distasteful.”

But there were some people who enjoyed the doc, with one person saying it offered “further insight into what a genius” Jackson was.

Someone else said it reminded them that Jackson was a  “LEGEND.”

You can read more reactions to The Last Days of Michael Jackson below.