I have learned that BET is finalizing a deal for a Quincy Jones primetime special to air later this year and mark the legendary producer’s 85th birthday. I hear the special is set to tape Sept. 25. Reps for BET and Jones declined comment.
As Deadline previously reported, the special had been in the works for months at CBS, which worked on it with The Recording Academy and Ken Ehrlich Prods., until the three partners informed Jones and his team last last month that they would not be going forward with it.
Shortly after the pass, Jones and his team brought in another seasoned live TV events producer, Don Mischer, and the event was taken out, drawing interest from both traditional networks, including BET, and streaming platforms. The producers started talks with BET, which progressed quickly.
According to sources close to CBS, the network and its partners ultimately did not go forward because they felt that there were not enough A-list names for a primetime special worthy of Jones’ legacy. Sources close to Jones’ camp disputed that account, with tOprah Winfrey, Will Smith and Eddie Murphy — who all have longstanding relationships with Jones — said to be among a number of big-name stars who had committed to the special.
The decision to scrap the Jones special as CBS came as an Aretha Franklin special was taken out to the marketplace following the singer’s death last month.
Meanwhile, Quincy, a documentary about the music icon, just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is slated to premiere on Netflix later this month.