NBC's Beatles TV Series May Have Problems Getting Made
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 06.20.2014
They're up against a competing project and don't have music rights...
As previously reported, NBC is working on an eight-part event series based around the Beatles. However, they may have a rough road toward getting the project made. Billboard reports that NBC has not secured music rights and is competing with a project at Sony Pictures Television.
The site spoke with Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO Marty Bandler about the projects. Sony/ATV owns the publishing rights to all but six of the Lennon-McCartney Beatles songs; Bandler says that he was pursuing a potential Beatles show for a while, with the intent that it would run on a premium cable network such as HBO.
"About six months ago, we were working with Sony Pictures TV on a show centered around the journey of the Beatles, and at one point we were talking about working with Baz Luhrmann," says Bandier. "We hadn't taken the next step, which is to reach out to the Beatles. The proposal is still on the table."
NBC has also reportedly not yet secured the likeness rights from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr or the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison. Bandler notes, "NBC couldn't produce a show without the songs, and we can't produce a show without approaching the Beatles for their likeness rights." Sony Pictures TV has declined comment, while executives familiar with the NBC series say that the initial news was "premature."