Hair CANCELED by NBC after Fox broadcast of Rent becomes lowest-rated live TV musical
NBC has guillotined its planned live production of the 1968 Broadway musical Hair.
The TV version of Hair was slated to air on May 19 – the date of the series finale of Game Of Thrones and the season finale of American Idol.
When the network mulled bumping Hair to a less competitive evening, doubts arose as to if they should put on the show at all, sources told The Hollywood Reporter.
The axe falls: NBC has guillotined its planned live production of the 1968 Broadway musical Hair; the original off-Broadway cast are pictured
Hair was meant to stand in for a live TV version of Bye Bye Birdie, which has been repeatedly rescheduled because of how busy its star Jennifer Lopez is.
NBC’s decision to cancel Hair comes after the Fox broadcast of Rent starring Vanessa Hudgens scored lower in the ratings than any other recent live TV musical.
Rent: Live was watched by 3.4 million people – whereas NBC’s 2013 show The Sound Of Music Live! led by Carrie Underwood got 18.6 million, per Variety.
Star turn: The decision to cancel Hair comes after the Fox broadcast of Rent starring Vanessa Hudgens scored lower in the ratings than any of the recent live TV musicals
NBC was trying to get Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld to be in Hair, according to insiders who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter.
Diane Paulus, who helmed the Tony-winning 2009 Broadway revival of the show, was to co-direct the NBC production with Alex Rudzinski, Playbill reports.
Alex won an Emmy for Fox’ Grease: Live starring Vanessa, and another one for NBC’s live production of Jesus Christ Superstar with John Legend and Sara Bareilles.
What an evening: Hair was meant as a stand-in for NBC’s production of Bye Bye Birdie, which has been repeatedly rescheduled because of how busy its star Jennifer Lopez is
Hair, an anti-Vietnam War show featuring occasionally nude hippies, pioneered the rock musical genre on Broadway, paving the way for Rent a quarter-century later.
Bob Greenblatt, who used to be president of NBC Entertainment and was an executive producer on the planned Hair broadcast, assured The Hollywood Reporter last month: ‘You’re not going to see nudity…well, maybe a little.’
With music by Galt Macdermot and a book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, Hair opened off-Broadway in 1967 and moved in 1968 to the Great White Way, where it became a smash hit and ran until 1972.
Back onscreen: In 1979, the show was adapted into a movie by Milos Forman, who got a Cesar nod for best director but lost to Woody Allen for Manhattan
The soundtrack, featuring such songs as Aquarius, topped the Billboard 200 in 1969 – and no original Broadway cast album has reached that position since.
In 1979, the show was adapted into a movie by Milos Forman, who got a Cesar nod for best director but lost to Woody Allen for Manhattan.
According to The Wrap, the highest-rated live TV musicals have been The Sound Of Music, Grease and The Wiz – less racy material than Rent or Hair.