NBC stopping ‘Pop’

Peacock's celeb song series fades away

NBC’s “I’m a Celebrity But I Wanna Be a Pop Star” has hit a sour note.

Peacock has pulled the plug on the star-filled singing competish, barely a month after saying it was fast-tracking the Granada America production (Daily Variety, June 20). Indeed, net had already started airing teaser promos hyping the show as “coming soon.”

Move means Fox’s planned celeb version of “American Idol” can move forward without any apparent competish (Daily Variety, June 23).

Sudden reversal on “Pop Star” appears to be the result of a disagreement between NBC and Granada America over the production’s cost. NBC execs had to decide by last Friday whether to move forward with the show, but insiders said Peacock brass felt the financial risk involved was too great compared to the potential upside.

Competition from Fox’s “Celebrity Idol,” announced just a few days after the NBC skein, couldn’t have helped, either.

NBC U cable topper and reality czar Jeff Gaspin declined to discuss specifics, but he did confirm the project was dead.

“We negotiated throughout the weekend, but we couldn’t come to terms,” he told Daily Variety.

A rep for Granada America also declined to comment beyond confirming “Pop Star” wouldn’t be continuing at NBC.

Early casting had already begun on the project, with several celebs indicating an interest in competing, insiders said.

NBC was also mulling a “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”-style scheduling stunt, airing the show over four or five nights the week of Sept. 12 as a way of amping up viewership the week before the official start of the 2005-06 season.

Fox has said “Celebrity Idol” would be on sometime this summer or fall.

While NBC execs have said the net’s recent upfront losses won’t impact programming, the axing of “Pop Star” reps the second time this summer the Peacock has bailed on a high-profile project because of money. Net also decided not to move forward with its ambitious 9/11 miniseries in part because of financial considerations.

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