Seriously? OMG! WTF?Did RENT kill Hair? - Seriously? OMG! WTF?
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[ # ] Did RENT kill Hair?
February 5th, 2019 under Broadway, NBC


NBC announced yesterday that it was not moving forward with a live version of Hair on May 19th. This announcement comes a week after RENT bombed on Fox. But I think there were other contributing factors.

Back in May 2018, NBC announced that Hair would be its next live musical. Which, I thought, was very brave. Even though it is one of my favorite musicals, it is not really broadcast TV friendly.

Strike 1 – On August 20th, Craig Zadan, who co-produced the live musicals, passed away suddenly. Leaving his business partner, Neil Meron, alone for the first time to do a show on his own.

Strike 2 – Just over a month later, Bob Greenblatt resigned as the Head of Entertainment at NBC. Greenblatt loved live television and Broadway, and he was the one who brought musicals to life on the network. With his departure, even Jesus Christ Superstar’s Emmy wins were probably not enough to keep them going.

Strike 3 – HBO scheduled the series finale of Game of Thrones for that night. If that was not bad enough, ABC did the same with American Idol’s finale. Although, I think the latter will even make a blip in the ratings.

Strike 4 – RENT: Live, the ’90s version of Hair, aired on Fox to disastrous ratings.
All of sudden taking a risk on a risque show does not sound like a good idea,

Which means Hair is out of there.

Does that mean we have reached the sunset of the age of Aquarius of live musicals? NBC’s new heads of Entertainment, Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks, told Variety, “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.”

Which means they want something more family friendly. Since ABC probably gets first dibs on the Disney shows that does not leave a whole lot of options. They can do Annie, but do little girls still know it like we do. One of my favorites, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is great but it has not been done in a while. Which is still more current than Jennifer Lopez’s Bye Bye Birdie that one is indefinite hold at NBC. They can try to beat Steven Speilberg to the punch and do West Side Story. Even that one is not really kid friendly. Maybe they can switch it up and do Fiddler on the Roof for Chanukah. If I were a rich man…

In short, I think we have seen the last of live Broadway musical productions. I am grateful for the ones we had. Even the bad ones like Peter Pan. Sorry, I hated it on Broadway and hated it on NBC. But at least it is still better than Cats.

Are you sad that this tradition has come to an end? Maybe someday soon they will let the sun shine in again. Hopefully soon! Hopefully sooner than when Hamilton becomes eligible to be done by Hollywood.

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