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Jackson furor won't help boost sales

Her latest, ‘Damita Jo,’ comes out March 30
/ Source: Reuters

In Janet Jackson’s case, sex may not sell.

Singer Jackson embarked on a major promotional tour for her upcoming CD, “Damita Jo,” with a halftime appearance at Sunday’s Super Bowl ending with her exposing her breast. But the admitted stunt, meant to generate publicity, may end up hurting sales of her new project, experts said Thursday.

Virgin Records, Jackson’s label, hoped to cash in on the uproar by rushing her new single, “Just a Little While,” to radio this week, but industry insiders believe her fans may be more turned off than turned on by the incident.

“I don’t think it will boost sales of the CD. I don’t think it was consistent with her image and the problem with it is that it came off looking just like a publicity stunt,” said China Danforth, chief executive of DKG Music, an urban label.

Jackson’s plan has spurred cries of indecency and a federal probe into television broadcasting. Her planned appearance at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards — the U.S. music industry’s top honors — appears in flux with CBS spokesmen declining to comment on whether she will or will not be part of the show.

Analysts note that similar publicity-generating efforts, like Madonna’s much-celebrated kiss to Britney Spears, did not result in stronger sales for either of the stars, and that bodes ill for “Damita Jo,” due to hit stores on March 30.

Country music stars The Dixie Chicks experienced a similar result when they saw a huge drop-off in CD sales after singer Natalie Maines publicly criticized President Bush.

Simon Renshaw, who manages the Dixie Chicks, thinks the Jackson fallout is much ado about nothing.

No big deal overseas“Being English, I cannot even begin to fathom what all the fuss is about. It’s only a nipple and there are far more important things to talk about,” Renshaw said.

In terms of the commercial impact, he said, “You can only evaluate these issues over long periods of time,” he said.

Jackson’s act continued to reverberate through the broadcast world Thursday as TV networks shuffled programming plans to avoid heat from federal regulators.

CBS has already said it would use an “enhanced delay” on its broadcast of music’s Grammy Awards so it can censor both audio and video as need be, and ABC also said it will use a delay on its broadcast of the Academy Awards.

“We are instigating a delay on the telecast,” ABC spokeswoman Sue Binford said, noting the exact length of the delay has not been determined but that in past, for similar broadcasts, the network has used a five-second interval.

She said the delay would apply only to the domestic broadcast of the show and not to versions of the program beamed around the world, and said ABC’s move had been under consideration before the Jackson incident.

TV network NBC decided to edit a brief view of an elderly woman’s breast from hit medical drama “ER,” but the move drew the ire of show producer John Wells.

In a statement, NBC called the shot “appropriate and in context,” but added its affiliates could not air the scene.

Wells called it an “over-reaction” that would have “a chilling effect on the narrative integrity of adult dramas.”

Finally, show business newspaper Daily Variety reported that the National Football League, leery of what might happen at halftime at this Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Hawaii, canceled a performance by singer JC Chasez. He will instead sing the national anthem before the game, the paper said.