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Sunday, December 24, 2006

On the comeback trail in Vegas - Lord Knows he'll $ell tickets - Whitney Houston should open!

Dec. 24, 2006 - Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

NORM: Michael Jackson landing on Strip?

Update: Reclusive superstar Michael Jackson arrived in Las Vegas late Saturday to begin a comeback in a city famous for reviving careers. Jackson and his three children arrived by private plane about 10:30 p.m. Saturday after a flight from Dublin, Ireland. Posted: 10:45 a.m.

Michael Jackson's 18-month self-imposed exile in Europe is coming to an end, sources say.

Ending 18 months of seclusion in Europe, reclusive superstar Michael Jackson was on a plane to the United States late Saturday bound for Las Vegas, where he plans a comeback.

Jackson and his three children, Prince Michael, Paris and Prince Michael II were due to arrive before midnight at a private executive terminal at McCarran International Airport, sources said.

We hear that Jackson's friend, Las Vegas dealmaker Jack Wishna, was instrumental in having the pop icon move back to the United States.

Reminiscent of Howard Hughes' secretive arrival in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving Day in 1966, Jackson's surprise move came after his father, Joe Jackson, vowed his son would not live in the United States again.

The 48-year-old deposed King of Pop has lived in Bahrain and a Celtic castle in Ireland since being acquitted in California of child molestation charges in June 2005.

Wishna, reached by telephone, wouldn't comment, other than to confirm Jackson was moving to Las Vegas and to say, "We are working on several projects."

Jackson has had more than a dozen No. 1 hits on the U.S. charts, the last in 1995. He has not toured since the mid-1990s.

Wishna wouldn't say where Jackson might land on the Strip. Wishna made headlines during Jackson's trial when he courted the entertainer, saying a Jackson comeback would earn a Celine Dion-like contract in Las Vegas.

Calling Jackson "one of the greatest entertainers in the world," Wishna said the singer "is poised to return to the top of the entertainment world soon."

It's the latest coup for Wishna. Two years ago, he brokered a deal that put Donald Trump's $2.8 billion Trump International Hotel & Tower on Phil Ruffin's New Frontier site.

After arriving in Las Vegas in 1999, Wishna put together a deal potentially worth $250 million for Wayne Newton at the Stardust. Wishna has dealt with Michael Flatley, Britney Spears, Richard Branson and Mohamed al-Fayed on Las Vegas deals.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Oscar winner Jamie Foxx has a film in the works that had its genesis in Las Vegas, when he lived here during the 1990s. Following up on a conversation we had four years ago, I asked him on Friday if the project, based on a Vegas stripper he knew who turned into a serial killer, was moving ahead. He confirmed he's producing it and has a script for the film, which is titled "Gone By Sunday." ...

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