A live musical production that has been in the works at ABC won’t be making it to air Oct. 3 as originally scheduled. Whether the “Little Mermaid” project will be scrapped or merely delayed remains unclear, with USA Today reporting Thursday that plans for the production have been “scrubbed.”
A statement from an ABC spokesperson, published by The Hollywood Reporter, puts a happier spin on the story, suggesting that “Mermaid,” announced during the upfronts back in May, remains alive.
“We are postponing the ‘Little Mermaid Live’ special,” the statement says. “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.”
THR also cites sources saying the project has been scrapped due to financial issues, noting that ABC had already invested in building sets and rehearsals were about to begin.
“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,” THR adds.
USA Today notes: “The beaching of ‘Mermaid’ marks the second cancellation of a live fall musical amid a crowded field: NBC in May tabled plans for ‘Bye, Bye Birdie,’ its fifth planned holiday musical that was to star Jennifer Lopez, but NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt says he hopes to revisit the project in late 2018, ‘if we can get back into JLo’s scheduling vortex.’ (She has a Las Vegas show and stars in NBC’s ‘Shades of Blue’ and ‘World of Dance.’)”