CBS issues statement over chaotic Billy Joel broadcast

Singer-songwriter was midway through one of his biggest hits when the broadcast cut to local news

Roisin O'Connor
Tuesday 16 April 2024 12:50 BST
CBS cuts Billy Joel concert special midway through 'Piano Man'.mp4

US network CBS will rebroadcast its Billy Joel special, Billy Joel: The 100thLive at Madison Square Garden, in its entirety after the intial Sunday broadcast cut off midway through the singer’s rendition of “Piano Man”.

Viewers in some parts of the country were left fuming after a “network programming timing error” meant that the special ended around two minutes early. Unfortunately, this was right in the middle of a rousing singalong to one of the musician’s most famous and popular hits.

Instead, some fans were shown local news, cutting off Joel, 74, as he sang: “And the piano, it sounds like a carnival/ And the microphone smells like a beer/ And they sit at the...”

The incident prompted uproar, with a number of viewers taking to social media to air their displeasure.

“Hey CBS, wtf is this?!” US music pundit Gunz shared on X/Twitter. “You cut off @billyjoel during ‘Piano Man’ of all songs?! And then didn’t come back to it?!?! No wonder network TV is a mess. Not ballin, not ballin at all.”

Musician Rob Thomas, lead vocalist for the Florida-based band Matchbox Twenty, also expressed his annoyance, commenting: “So first the @RecordingAcad gives @billyjoel the s****iest spot to premiere his new song and then @CBS cuts his concert off in the middle of his last song?

“I feel like people need to appreciate this icon a little more,” he continued. “There are no more like him.”

Billy Joel performing at the Grammys (AFP via Getty Images)

“What the absolute F*** @CBS?” another annoyed viewer posted. “You promote Billy Joel on CBS for months only to cut it off for local news on the east coast and pre-empt it by nearly an hour and cut off my local broadcast? No wonder so few watch your s***ty network. @billyjoel and those of us who tuned in deserve better.”

Numerous other fans tweeted at CBS to complain that they had cut the broadcast at a crucial moment: “This is the crappiest way to treat your audience,” one person wrote.

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“We apologise to Mr Joel, his fans, our affiliated stations, and our audience whose viewing experience was interrupted during the last song,” CBS said in a statement.

“Due to the overwhelming demand from his legion of fans, Billy Joel: The 100th Live at Madison Square Garden will be rebroadcast in its entirety on CBS on 19 April at 9pm ET/PT.

Joel also shared the statement from his social media accounts.

The unfortunate incident comes after Joel released his first single in decades. “Turn the Lights Back On”, which came out in February, marked the first original release by Joel since 2007.

Billy Joel: The 10th Live at Madison Square Garden will re-air on CBS on Sunday 19 April at 9pm ET/PT.

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