ABC is promoting a big Whitney Houston special for next Wednesday labeled “Superstar.”
But I’m told the special is just recycled “20/2o” clips and new interviews with many people who didn’t really know the late singer. (Only Brandy and Narada Michael Walden would qualify as actual friends.)
Insiders tell me that ABC didn’t even contact Whitney’s family or estate to let them know they were reviving their old material. The family found out through the publicist of someone who was contacted for an interview.
Needless to say, the “Superstar” special isn’t sanctioned by the Houstons.
There have already been two major documentaries about Whitney. One, directed by Nick Broomfield, appeared on Showtime. Another, which played the Cannes Film Festival, was made by the family and leveled accusations of child molestation against a family member.
“Superstar” won’t include footage from those films but will set Whitney up as a tragic figure who appeared on ABC shows many times, including famous interviews with Diane Sawyer.
This won’t be the first insult next week for the Houston family. I’m told that the Aretha Franklin movie, “Respect,” excludes Whitney’s mother, Cissy, who was Aretha’s chief backup singer on all her big hits on Atlantic Records– the period covered by the movie. Cissy and her group, the Sweet Inspirations, not only sang on the records but toured with Aretha in the 60s. Cissy Houston sang back up for Aretha a few years ago when the Queen of Soul made her final appearance on David Letterman’s late night talk show.