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E! to Re-Create Jackson Trial

E! Entertainment Television and British Sky Broadcasting Group plc will partner on daily half-hour courtroom re-enactments of the upcoming Michael Jackson child-abuse trial.

Using verbatim court transcripts, producers will work around the clock to draft scripts, assembling the tawdry and mundane items of the day into scripts for look-alike actors. The renactments will air a day later in prime time.

Those re-enactments, produced by E! News and Sky News, will be packaged differently by the two networks, each using its own presenters, hosts and branding.

Jackson faces up to 24 years in prison, charged with nine felony counts of child molestation in December 2003.

Jury selection for his trial is to begin Jan. 31. Casting selection for the reenactors has already begun. The re-enactments will supplement E!’s news coverage of the trial, set to air daily Monday through Friday, with a wrap-up on the weekend.

The reenactment, says E! Networks President Ted Harbert, will help those who are "really into" the trial go beyond "Cliffnote versions of the news," which he characterized as "any news broadcast that isn't C-SPAN."

E! told critics it will also add Hollywood Poker Night to its prime time lineup, an hour weekly show getting in on the poker programming craze by featuring three celebrities and their friends each week playing cards. Celebritites include Macaulay Culkin, Andy Dick and Seth Green. No word from the network on when the show will premiere.

Sister channel, The Style Network, will insert tongue firmly in cheek--a new reality trend, perhaps--to air Craft Corner Death Match, a 13-episode crafting competition game show in which amateur do-it-yourselfers face off on art projects against the “Craft Lady of Steel” to find out, for example, who can best wield a glue gun.

The show will premiere March 9 at 10 p.m.

E!, the LA-based entertainment news and lifestyle network, is currently available to 85 million cable and satellite subscribers. Style currently has 38 million subscribers. BskyB, the UK-based multichannel television platform, reaches almost 19 million viewers with movies, news, entertainment and sports channels.