‘Piano Man’ Vs. Newsman: CBS Unexpectedly Ended Billy Joel’s Concert Special Mid-Song And Cut To Local News


Yesterday (April 14), CBS aired Billy Joel: The 100th — Live At Madison Square Garden… or rather, they aired most of the concert special.

As Consequence notes, CBS’ coverage of the 2024 Masters Tournament ended up running long, so the recording of the Joel concert started airing 30 minutes behind schedule. Late in the performance, as Joel was belting out his signature song “Piano Man,” the broadcast unexpectedly ended and cut to local news. As Awful Announcing notes, this affected viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones.

As one X (formerly Twitter) user, a former CBS employee, noted, “CBS has been promoting the Billy Joel concert special every two minutes for WEEKS. So what better way to air it than to preempt it for a half hour and the cut him off MID-PIANO MAN? C’mon guys.” She noted in another tweet, “There were two logical choices they could’ve made: reschedule or scrap Tracker, or air the entire primetime schedule and preempt local news as needed. I’ve worked in TV for many years. The 11pm newscast has been pushed for lesser reasons.”

Another more angry user noted, “Dear @CBS, F*ck off. #BillyJoel #MSG #100 concert not only starts a half hour late, but then you cut off the last 3-4 minutes for local news to start at 1130? Are you serious. Absolutely pathetic decision making, on an event that’s been advertised for MONTHS, and you f*ck it up.”

Fortunately, there is a resolution in sight: Today, Joel took to social media to share an update from CBS. It reads, “A network programming timing error ended last night’s Billy Joel special approximately two minutes early in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. We apologize to Mr. Joel, his fans, our affiliated stations, and our audience whose viewing experience was interrupted during the last song. 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 April 19th at 9:00PM ET/PT.”

Before then, the full special can also be watched via Paramount Plus.