Has the fat lady sung when it comes to creating musicals for television? Not quite, but producers Howard Braunstein and Michael Jaffe aren’t singing a happy tune over ”Annie Get Your Gun” – the much-anticipated musical starring Reba McEntire that they hoped to revive for CBS next season. McEntire planned to use her hiatus from The WB’s ”Reba” this summer to shoot the small-screen version – that is, until the producers couldn’t secure financing. Now there’s no telling when ”Annie” will happen, though the duo remains optimistic. ”Big, old-fashioned musicals are expensive, but they should be. They’re spectacles,” Braunstein says. ”Everything has its moment. The stars have to be aligned.” (As for McEntire, a spokeswoman says the crooner remains open to the possibility of doing ”Annie” for TV, though her first choice has always been to make the musical for the big screen.)
Meanwhile, Braunstein promises that his other TV musical project, the revival of ”Once Upon a Mattress” for CBS starring Carol Burnett, is on track. The producing partners are considering just filming a stage version of ”Mattress” because ”Carol is so brilliant front of live audiences,” says Braunstein (and, no doubt, because it’d be much cheaper). Other TV tuners remain in production, such as ABC’s ”The Music Man” with Matthew Broderick from Uberproducers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. ”There’s still a big appetite for big-event programming,” says Braunstein. ”We produced ”South Pacific” for ABC, and that was a great experience.” Speak for yourself, pal.