The ABC live musical of The Little Mermaid just wants to be part of this world, but as it turns out, Ursula may be dragging it back to sea and stealing its voice before it even makes it to TV.
“We are postponing the Little Mermaid Live special,” an ABC spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. “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.”
News of the postponement comes just three months after The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid was announced at the ABC upfronts on May 16. Set to air as a two-hour special on October 3, the musical has been described as a “hybrid television experience,” using cutting-edge technology to bring together live-action and animated performances and featuring the original score of the 1989 film with songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Done + Dusted, with Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart, Katy Mullan, and Richard Kraft were set to serve as executive producers.
It isn’t the first live musical to be delayed, and follows in the wake of NBC’s May postponement of Bye Bye Birdie Live, which was set to star Jennifer Lopez. With budget constraints being the likely culprit according to those close to the project, it is seems probable that The Little Mermaid will be cancelled altogether. ABC had already invested in building sets and rehearsals were set to begin shortly.
If you’re bummed about the likely cancellation, there are still plenty of live musicals slated to air. While Bye Bye, Birdie has been postponed, NBC still plans to air Jesus Christ Superstar on April 1, 2018. A Christmas Story and Rent are also in the lineup of musicals coming to Fox in 2018. If you’re still craving your dose of mermaids, though, Freeform will have you covered when their new series Sirens airs.