Beatles fans who got their hopes up about a proposed miniseries chronicling the band's rise to fame are now singing the blues: The project has hit some major development snags, and may be dead in the water.
Like we predicted last week, the success of NBC's in-the-works series hinges on the network's acquisition of rights to the band's catalogue, and it seems that the current owner of those rights is already in the midst of developing its own competing project about the Fab Four. Billboard reports that Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which has the rights to all but six Lennon-McCartney compositions, has been planning a series with Sony Pictures TV -- possibly helmed by Baz Luhrmann, on a pay cable outlet like HBO -- with the same concept as NBC's show.
Marty Bandier, the chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, told Billboard that the next step in their process is contacting Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and the estates of the late John Lennon and George Harrison, to obtain permission to use the Beatles's likenesses. Bandier said Sony had not yet reached out to those parties; it's unclear if NBC has done so.
Even if NBC obtained likeness rights and wanted to go around Sony/ATV for music, that won't come cheap. According to Billboard, Steve Van Zandt worked out a deal to use four non-Sony/ATV Beatles tunes in David Chase's 2012 film "Not Fade Away" -- at a cool $250,000 apiece.
So it seems the likelihood of NBC's series coming to fruition is low. Then again, sources familiar with the Peacock's plans told Billboard that reports of the project were "premature," so maybe the network has a plan to deal with these seemingly insurmountable issues. (Not using the Fab Four's music at all, perhaps?)
Our fingers are crossed that they can work it out.
[via: Billboard, h/t Uproxx]