NBC Just Cancelled Its Next Live Musical

Hair NBC poster, artwork courtesy NBC

Live musicals have been all the rage on network television over the past several years, particularly on NBC and Fox. Millions of fans have gotten excited about musicals on NBC like Peter Pan Live! and The Wiz Live! However, they won’t have the chance to get pumped about Hair Live! as the Peacock Network has announced it has scrapped the previously announced project entirely.

Hair Live! was actually scheduled to air on NBC this spring, but probably thanks to the network realizing the whole play is full of sex and drug references, it has now been nixed from the schedule. The original 1960s musical is all about the counterculture movement. It's full of hippies, as well as references to things like the sexual revolution and Vietnam. There's nudity and also drug references. In short, it's unlike the other musicals that NBC has previously produced.

If you’ve kept tabs on NBC and Fox’s musical productions over the years, NBC has veered more toward family-oriented musical content while Fox has gotten at least a little bit more risqué, recently producing a live(ish) production of Rent.

Likewise, an unnamed source at the network told TV Line that the network would be turning its focus toward family musicals, suggesting the counterculture nature of Hair just wasn’t a great fit for the network, despite longtime collaborator Alex Rudzinski being on board to direct the project.

Still, the show must go on. In Hair’s place, NBC is still planning to produce future musicals. Regardless, NBC co-chairmen Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks revealed each of these live events is an undertaking and takes planning in a statement, noting:

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.

With this in mind, it could be awhile before the network has a plan for another Live! production, but there will be one coming down the pipeline and presumably the network is already working on getting a plan in place.

In fact, NBC has traditionally aired a Live! musical at the beginning of December, right smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. Another musical, Jesus Christ Superstar Live! did air in the spring.

In addition, Hair Live! is not the first musical NBC has scrapped. A version of Bye Bye Birdie was also once coming together at the network but was halted and did not ever make it to air. Jennifer Lopez was involved with that production before it was scrapped.

We’ll let you know as soon as NBC settles on a less racy production for the airwaves. In the meantime, you can see what is headed to the schedule this spring with our full midseason guide.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.