NBC Shares the Reason They Pulled HAIR LIVE From the Schedule
Last year, NBC announced that its next live musical would be Hair, airing in spring 2019. In July, the network scheduled the event for Sunday, May 19. When Sunday rolls around, however, Hair Live! won't be airing, because in February, NBC shelved the live musical permanently.
After the announcement, there was a lot of speculation as to why NBC pulled the live event. Many thought the choice was due to Fox's Rent Live!, which aired on January 27, which put up the lowest ratings ever for a live musical. The other suspected cause was the departure of NBC Entertainment Chariman Robert Greenblatt in September 2019. Greenblatt brought live musicals back to the network in 2013.
NBC Entertainment chairman George Cheeks, who runs the network alongside Paul Telegdy, told Adweek that HBO was primarily responsible for pulling Hair Live! off the May 19 date, since the premium cable network scheduled the GAME OF THRONES series finale for the same night.
"As soon as we heard of the announcement of the GAME OF THRONES series finale, it gave us tremendous pause," said Cheeks. "It's always challenging when you have big events like that to move the date. So that was the first thing that made us think, maybe this is not the right move."
After they decided to shelve the live musical on May 19, the executives continued to debate, and came to the conclusion that the best course of action would be not to reschedule, but to scrap Hair Live! entirely.
"The other thing we've learned, not just with Rent but with all the live musicals, is that the bigger, broader, four quadrant, family-friendly musicals are the ones that work," said Cheeks.
Cheeks wanted to ensure that he and Telegdy "both are 100% behind" live musicals. NBC has yet to decide which family-friendly musical will be it's next choice.
NBC began the live TV musical trend in 2013 with "The Sound of Music Live!" starring Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, and Christian Borle. The followed up in 2014 with "Peter Pan Live!" with Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, Christian Borle and Kelli O'Hara. In 2015, NBC aired "The Wiz Live!" with Common, Amber Riley, Uzo Aduba, Stephanie Mills, David Alan Grier, Mary J. Blige, Shanice Williams and Queen Latifah. 2016 saw one of their most popular live musical, "Hairspray Live!"which won three Emmys. Hairspray Live! featured Maddie Baillio, Dove Cameron, Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Ariana Grande, Derek Hough, Jennifer Hudson and Martin Short. Most recently they had the 2018 live musical "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert" which won five Emmys and starred John Legend, Sarah Bareilles, Brandon Victor Dixon, and Norm Lewis.
FOX also followed suit, airing the live musicals "The Passion", "Grease Live!", "A Christmas Story Live!", and "Rent."
Read the original article on Adweek.