WCBS nixes 'Strange' musical number
CBS’ flagship O&O in Gotham has nixed a musical number from Broadway tuner “Passing Strange” from its pre-Tony special after the net’s standards and practices department declared the song “We Just Had Sex” inappropriate for broadcast.Producers of “Passing Strange” feel they cannot prepare a new number in time for a taping skedded for Friday, according to Oskar Eustis, a.d. of the Public Theater. The Public, which gave “Passing Strange” its Off Broadway preem last year, is an associate producer of the Broadway transfer. The WCBS-TV pre-Tony special, featuring segments on a number of the season’s new Rialto tuners, is skedded to air June 7. Post-coital subject matter of “Sex” seems to have raised eyebrows at WCBS, although the actual content of the tune would likely strike many auds as relatively tame. In a statement, a WCBS spokesman said station execs felt “the lyrics in the song offered by the musical’s producers are inappropriate for broadcast television, especially for a 7 p.m. audience, when children are watching.” A spotlight on the tube could prove valuable to “Passing Strange,” which earned critical praise from its February opening but has since struggled at the box office. Weekly sales receipts rarely hit $300,000 and sometimes sink below $200,000. Eustis said the “Passing Strange” production team has been told there is no recourse to the WCBS decision. Currently, the show will not be featured in the special. “We’re kind of hosed,” Eustis said. If “Passing Strange,” a musical about a black American discovering himself abroad, is nommed for the top tuner Tony — which most legiters see as likely — producers plan to showcase two other numbers, “Amsterdam” and “Keys,” during the kudocast June 15. Noms are announced May 13.
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