NBC Cancels Live Hair Broadcast

Film & TV News   NBC Cancels Live Hair Broadcast
 
The rock musical was slated to head to the network in May.
Sash Allen (center) and the cast of the 2009 Broadway revival of <i>Hair</i>
Sasha Allen (center) and the cast of the 2009 Broadway revival of Hair Joan Marcus

The Age of Aquarius is over before it began.

NBC has pulled its upcoming live broadcast of Hair from its spring schedule, according to Variety. The rock musical was originally announced to air on the network May 19. Diane Paulus was slated to direct, reprising her work from the 2009 Tony-winning revival. Joining her on the creative team was live TV director Alex Rudzinski.

The announcement comes a week after Fox's presentation of Rent, which drew in the lowest numbers of any of the networks' recent televised musicals.

Diane Paulus and Alex Rudzinski
Diane Paulus and Alex Rudzinski

"Live musicals are a part of this network's DNA, and we are committed to continuing that tradition," said NBC Co-Chairmen Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks in a 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."

The '60s musical, about a group of hippies resisting authority and protesting the Vietnam War, was a marked departure from NBC's earlier, more family-friendly offerings, which began in 2013 with The Sound of Music. The network's initial announcement to stage the Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni, and James Rado musical raised questions over the show's adult language and themes, depictions of drug use, and brief but noted nudity.

Hair would have been the first musical from NBC following the death of Craig Zadan, who, with frequent collaborator Neil Meron, executive produced each of the network's live musicals. Zadan died at the age of 69 in August 2018, weeks before their Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert won five Emmy Awards.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera was also the final live musical at the Peacock network for Robert Greenblatt, who stepped down as entertainment chairman in September.

Despite earlier reports of a live Bye Bye Birdie with Jennifer Lopez and A Few Good Men with Alec Baldwin, NBC does not have any announced live theatrical projects in the pipeline (nor does any other network).

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