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The Little Mermaid may not be swimming forward at ABC.
The Disney-owned network has postponed plans for its planned live musical rendition of the animated classic.
“We are postponing the Little Mermaid Live special. We love the idea of doing a live musical and want to make it wonderful. The project is so unique that we are making best efforts to do it next year and want to give it all the attention it deserves,” an ABC spokesperson said Thursday in a statement.
Announced in May as part of ABC’s upfront news, the TV event was slated to air as a live two-hour special on Oct. 3. Done + Dusted’s (CBS’ Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show) Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart, David Jammy, Katy Mullan and Richard Kraft of Kraft-Engel Productions were set to executive produce.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the project has been scrapped due to financial issues, which USA Today reported earlier Thursday, citing budget constraints after the network had already invested in building sets. Rehearsals were set to begin shortly.
The project is designed as a throwback to ABC’s famed Wonderful World of Disney franchise and eyed to have live musical performances as a hybrid of animation paired with celebrity guests performing the songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.
The Little Mermaid was left off of ABC’s fall premiere date announcement, with a source at the network telling THR at the time that it had been delayed.
The decision to delay The Little Mermaid comes months after NBC did the same with Jennifer Lopez’s Bye Bye Birdie Live. Live productions have become increasingly common on broadcast networks following the breakout ratings success of NBC’s The Sound of Music. Fox found critical and ratings success with Grease Live and is next taking on Rent. NBC, meanwhile, recently tapped Alec Baldwin to star in A Few Good Men.
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