Fans of “The Little Mermaid,” we have some sad news for you. ABC has cancelled plans for its previously scheduled live musical version of the Disney classic. The event was originally announced back in May and was set to air Oct. 3. The musical was reportedly axed from the networks’ schedule due to budget constraints.
“We are postponing the Little Mermaid Live! special,” the network said in a statement, according to Deadline. “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.”
The two-hour event was to intertwine the animated film with live musical performances. A similar live performance of the Disney classic took place last year at the Hollywood Bowl, with Rebel Wilson starring as Ursula. Check out her performance in the video below.
This is the second live musical a network has postponed this year. In May, NBC announced that their planned live production of the musical “Bye, Bye Birdie” has been pushed back. NBC President Robert Greenblatt hopes “Birdie” can still be produced some time in 2018, provided star Jennifer Lopez can find the time in her schedule.
Despite the popularity of live TV musicals in recent years, such as NBC’s adaptation of “The Sound of Music” in 2013, it can be difficult for networks to actually profit from them. Their high production cost (NBC’s “Peter Pan Live” reportedly cost $10 million to make) coupled with the fact that there’s not much to be made from reruns, DVD sales or streaming revenue, means these events are often not lucrative endeavors.
“It’s never been easy to make money,” Greenblatt said of the projects to USA Today. “They’re expensive to produce, and they really aren’t great business prospects. We just (do) them because they’re events.”