WHEN Jermaine Jackson came to his brothers Tito, Jackie and Marlon with a pitch for a reality show, they were, rightly, sceptical. To the Jackson family, already something of a circus without the intrusion of cameras, reality television was a distraction.
That Jermaine could convince them otherwise is a given, of course. For the past five weeks, Foxtel's Arena network has been showing The Jacksons: a Family Dynasty. On Sunday and Monday night, the network will screen the final two episodes of season one.
It's easy to see how Jermaine convinced his brothers to do the show. He possesses a warm, jocular charisma. Although at times a little earnest, he retains a wicked sense of humour.
''On the reality shows at home, they curse a lot and we don't do that,'' Jermain says. ''I wanted to show the whole Jackson mystique that goes into making our lyrics and melodies. And then bring in a second generation: our kids.''
Why would he want to invite cameras into his life?
''Television got us going from day one,'' he says. ''There's always a camera watching us now, so there's no difference. We felt the media had [started] writing things that weren't true. They said we weren't close, which isn't true. We have misunderstandings and disputes but the public thinks we shouldn't have them. Which brothers don't have disputes?''
Jermaine also saw the chance to use the series as a platform for a new Jackson brothers album and reunion tour.
Sister Janet's appearance on the show, however, is fleeting. The brothers call her on her birthday for an awkward speakerphone conversation. Watching the show, there's clearly an elephant in the room: this is a Jackson four, not five.
''Michael's success got so broad but he's always been a Jackson Five,'' he says. ''We've had discussions with Janet about doing an entire family thing. Those talks are still there. It's whether she wants to do it.''
The brothers were several months into filming the show when Michael died. Jermaine insists there was never a thought to cancel the series.
''We thought Michael would want us to keep going,'' he says.
The brothers were also working with Michael on his shows planned for the O2 Arena in London. According to Jermaine, it would have included a Jackson Five feature.
''I'm happy for the years Michael had on this Earth and what he achieved,'' he says.
''He was blessed with the talent and was able to give back. He was the No. 1 donor in The Guinness Book of Records of any individual in giving to charity. He was accused of child molestation and it was totally false. It was all BS.''
While declining to comment on Conrad Murray, the doctor charged with Jackson's death, he says: ''There's a conspiracy to this day that leads to why he is not here. Definitely.''
Jermaine, a practising Muslim, has seven children, aged from nine to 32, and is an avid traveller.
After his recent visit to Melbourne, he flew to South Africa before visiting Amsterdam, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on business.
Asked whether he is still in contact with his brothers now filming is finished, he blanches slightly. ''We talk all the time,'' he says, before admitting he was unaware Jackie was visiting Australia in two weeks to promote a DVD.
Will there be a season two? ''We're trying to figure out if we should do it,'' he says. ''Most likely we will try and make it happen.'' Meanwhile, he is talking to Janet about a tour. Then there's his proposed album of Frank Sinatra and big-band covers, a solo album of new material and, yes, a Jackson brothers album. He also plans a world tour of Michael's This Is It set.
''I'm making sure the family is strong,'' he says.
The Jacksons: a Family Dynasty screens on Sunday at 2pm and Monday at 8.30pm on Arena.