NBC is not proceeding with Hair Live!, which had been scheduled to air May 19 as the network’s next live musical. There are no plans for the counter-culture classic to air at a later date, though the network remains committed to live musicals and plans to return to the type of broad-appeal productions that launched its live musical franchise.
“Live musicals are a part of this network’s DNA and we are committed to continuing that tradition with the right show at the right time, Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment, said in a joint statement. “Since these shows are such enormous undertakings, we need titles that have a wide appeal and we’re in the process of acquiring the rights to a couple of new shows that we’re really excited about.”
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Since the premiere date for Hair Live! was announced, it turned out that it would have to face the series finale of HBO’s Game Of Thrones and the season finale of ABC’s American Idol. The killer competition played a role in NBC’s decision not to go forward with Hair, It also likely was informed by the low ratings for Fox’s Rent last month.
Both are geared more towards adults and like Hair, which tackles the Vietnam War, Rent touches on a tough subject, the AIDS epidemic.
The highest rated live TV musicals to date have been NBC’s The Sound Of Music and The Wiz and Fox’s Grease, all light, family-friendly shows.
Hair Live! was the last live musical greenlighted by former NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt, a big theater buff who kickstarted the current wave of musicals on broadcast TV in 2013 with The Sound Of Music. Diane Paulus and Alex Rudzinski were tapped as directors in July, and the special has been actively casting.
Neil Meron, who has executive produced all of NBC’s live musicals to date, was executive producing for Universal TV and MGM Television, with Greenblatt’s involvement.
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