NBC has pulled its upcoming live musical production of “Hair Live!”
“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. 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,” Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, co-chairmen of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement.
The musical was set to air in May 2019, following in the footsteps of the network’s last live musical “Jesus Christ Superstar Live!” which brought in average viewership of 9.4 million in April 2018. Diane Paulus, director of the last “Hair” revival on Broadway, had been tapped as director of the live musical, alongside live television director Alex Rudzinski.
Last Sunday’s “Rent” on Fox, however, brought in the lowest ratings for any live musical, with 3.4 million viewers .
The decision not to air “Hair” also comes after Robert Greenblatt, who revived live musicals at NBC, stepped down from his position as head of NBC Entertainment this fall.
Greenblatt was set to bring “Hair” to the network, alongside producers Craig Zadan, who passed away in August, and Neil Meron. The team had produced all of NBC’s live musicals. Before stepping down from the network, Greenblatt told Broadway News columnist Jeremy Gerard that all of Zadan’s projects were scheduled to move forward as planned.
When the news of the musical was originally announced in May, Zadan told Broadway News that he and Meron planned to work with their director to adapt some of the musical’s more controversial aspects, like nudity and drug use, for a television audience.
The network had already pushed a live musical adaptation of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
NBC has previously broadcast “The Sound of Music Live!” “Peter Pan Live!,” “The Wiz Live!,” “Hairspray Live!”