Media Medium
30 July 2001


Coming to America

Michael Jackson's move from Channel 4 to the US is signified by
seductive Neptune crossing his Mercury, luring him to a
position ideally suited to his talents.

As Michael Jackson waves goodbye to Channel 4 to take up his lucrative US posting, how will he fare, and how soon will he be back?

His new job with the USA Entertainment Group is his fifth senior TV position in ten years, giving him a reputation for being restless, but boredom isn't the reason he's moving on. He has six of his ten planets in fixed signs, and his Aquarian emphasis (February 11 1958) suggests he is motivated by the paradox of this complex sign.

Aquarius is ruled by two planets, Saturn and Uranus, and both are strongly placed in his personal horoscope. Self-disciplined and ambitious Saturn makes him a first-rate strategist and careful planner, with an understanding of authority and tradition. Yet radical Uranus, lined up against Mercury, marks him as an alternative thinker with a mind that "does not always pursue the beaten track, but makes its own rules, follows its own laws, and obeys its own inner nature" (Alan Leo). This Uranus gets mistaken for highly strung nervous energy, but its true gift is an unerring intuition for the new and the different. Bob Dylan puts it nicely: "If there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now".

So far in his career Michael Jackson has successfully played both sides of the paradox, mastering both structure and creativity. He was a golden boy at the strait-laced and Saturnine BBC, first as a ground-breaking producer and then as Director of BBC2. His stint at Channel 4 has led to criticisms of dumbing down, but with programmes like Big Brother and Ali G, he can credibly claim to have held to the channel's Uranian brief of 'innovation, diversity and creativity'.

His current move is signified by seductive Neptune crossing his Mercury, luring him to an apparently ideal set-up for his talents, especially involving feature films. But things are never what they appear to be with Neptune. Rather than the smooth ride he might be hoping for, his horoscope for the next three years is dominated by stormy and tempestuous Mars, the old god of war. This angry planet began to take hold from April this year, and we may suspect that there is already some blood on the carpet in the move from Channel 4.

So the man who has always been able to ride two horses is heading for a rodeo. He'll have to buck a competitive and potentially hostile working environment where events are out of his control and where his cool and intelligent Aquarian approach won't cut much ice. To get what he wants, he may find himself having to call on the uncompromising and tyrannical side of his Uranus

But it's all grist to the mill, and despite denials, he almost certainly has a long strategy in mind. The contacts between his horoscope and the horoscopes for the BBC (Incorporation 1927, First TV Broadcast 1936), are as good as it gets, tuning his Saturn in to the corporation's Jupiter and its public service role. If the Governors followed astrology, they'd be ordering Greg Dyke's removal van now.

With the US wars over, we can expect Mr Jackson back here in 2005, seemingly in pole position for the top job at the BBC. His timing may not be quite right, but sometime, somehow, he ought to get there. The interesting challenge, and the game to play for, is that by the time he returns, the culture at the Beep will have significantly changed, and Michael Jackson himself will also have moved on. From being an innovative young gun, he will be part of TV's senior generation.

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