ABC abruptly cancels three-hour Rolling Stone 50th Anniversary special set for February

It looks like ABC is going to have to do something new with three hours of broadcast time on Feb. 7 now that it’s officially scrapping the “Rolling Stone 50th Anniversary Show.”

Announced in May at the network’s upfront presentation, the special was set to be a three-hour exploration into the impact Rolling Stone had on pop culture, music and politics throughout the past five decades. It promised live performances and stars as well in a big spectacle. But ABC made the abrupt decision to cancel the special in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the rock n' roll magazine's founder, Jann Wenner. 

Back in November, Ben Ryan, a freelance writer for Rolling Stone came out with allegations against Wenner and explained his encounter with the publisher to BuzzFeed News. Ryan told Buzzfeed that Wenner proposed career advancement in exchange for sex during a 2005 meeting.

And just last week, a former employee, Jonathan Wells, accused Wenner of sexually assaulting him more than 40 years ago – his relationship with the publisher was allegedly what got the former press director hired and later fired from the company.

Wenner has denied both of the allegations against him.

Rolling Stone

 (Rolling Stone)

But prior to the Wenner’s assault allegations, Rolling Stone also faced a tough time and received harsh backlash in 2014 after publishing a story of a campus gang rape at the University of Virginia that was incorrectly reported, and was later debunk by the Washington Post. The lawsuit against Rolling Stone was settled in April. 

In December, Wenner ended his 50 years of owning the rock n' roll magazine and sold his controlling stake in his publication to Jay Penske at Penske Media, publishers of Variety and Women’s Wear Daily.