NBC's Bye Bye Birdie live musical with Jennifer Lopez will be staying in its cage a while longer. Thanks to Lopez's busy schedule, the production has been delayed again.
The peacock network first planned to air the musical during the 2017 holiday season, but it was pushed to 2018 in May 2017. Now, Variety reported on Friday that the show has been pushed back again. Now, it will not air until 2019 at the earliest.
Lopez is slated to make two movies before the end of 2017. She will also star in the reality competition series World of Dance and the police drama Shades of Blue, which both air on NBC. On top of her acting commitments, she will still finish up her Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood in September. Lopez also filmed cameos on Will & Grace for NBC.
NBC still has at least one live musical production for 2018. On April 1, the ambitious Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert will air live from Brookyln's Marcy Armory.
The Bye Bye Birdie delay is might prove best for the network as Jesus Christ Superstar is much more ambitious than previous NBC live musicals. It will be staged at Brooklyn's Marcy Armory with over 70 actors and musicians involved. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron would only have six months to prepare for Bye Bye Birdie, if which would be a difficult and expensive feat.
NBC launched the current trend for live musicals with 2013's The Sound of Music. They followed it with 2014's Peter Pan, 2015's The Wiz and 2016's Hairspray. They all aired during the holiday season, but NBC did not have one ready for 2017. NBC has portrayed them as must-see live television, and audiences have tuned in.
However, Hairspray was the lowest-rated to date, with 9 million viewers and a 2.3 18-49 rating, Variety reported. When The Sound of Music debuted, it attracted 18.62 million viewers and a 4.6 rating.
Zadan and Meron are also working on a live version of Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men. That has been delayed since Sorkin decided to work on his directorial debut, Molly's Game and has been on the awards season trail after getting an Oscar nomination for his script. A Few Good Men likely will not air until 2019.
Bye Bye Birdie is a Tony-winning musical inspired by the reaction to Elvis Presley getting drafted by the Army in 1957. It was written by Charles Strouse, Lee Adams and Michael Stewart, and made its Broadway debut in 1960. A film version with Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke was released in 1963.