CBS has won the Adele lottery, beating out streaming rivals for rights to the singer’s first big TV special ahead of her new album 30. The two-hour event, dubbed Adele One Night Only, will air Sunday, November 14, and will feature the singer in concert from Los Angeles, where she’ll perform previously unheard new songs from the album as well as previous hits. And as if that weren’t enough, the CBS special will also weave in Oprah Winfrey interviewing Adele in what is being billed as the singer’s first extensive TV conversation about “the stories behind the songs, life after divorce, weight loss, and raising her son,” according to a press release from the network.
As Vulture reported exclusively earlier this month, the Eye was one of several major outlets chasing after the Adele special. While streaming-only services are increasingly big players in the music space — think Beyoncé’s Netflix film or Mariah Carey’s 2020 Christmas special — the music industry still considers broadcast TV a good place to help launch an album, even if networks such as CBS don’t shell out as much upfront cash as the streamers. CBS always seemed a logical fit for an Adele event, given the network’s broad reach and the fact that it boasts a core audience of adults over 25 who still actually buy records. CBS is also giving Adele One Night Only a primo time slot on a Sunday night immediately following 60 Minutes and a late-afternoon NFL game. The special is set to air at 8:30 p.m. on the East Coast and 8 p.m. out West, allowing time for an expected NFL overrun. It will also be available to stream live and on-demand via Paramount+.
Two other factors no doubt helped CBS land Adele. Its head of specials and alternative programming, Jack Sussman, is an industry vet with deep connections in the music business, in part due to the Eye’s long-running association with the Grammy Awards. In addition, Ben Winston, exec producer of the network’s Late Late Show With James Corden, is a U.K. native who, along with Corden, helped engineer 2016’s massively successful Carpool Karaoke with Adele weeks after the singer’s 2015 album release. While Winston isn’t tied to CBS for specials — he produced the Emmy-nominated Friends reunion for HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video’s Kacey Musgraves Christmas special — it probably didn’t hurt that he had a preexisting relationship with both Adele and the network. And indeed, Winston is onboard to exec-produce Adele One Night Only for CBS via his Fulwell 73 Productions banner alongside Adele, her manager Jonathan Dickins, and Raj Kapoor. Onward Productions and Harpo Productions are also attached to the special. Adele’s new album will be released on November 19, five days after the special airs. One detail still not clear is whether Adele also plans to do a U.K. concert special to promote the album’s release, as she did with the rollout for 25. Back in 2015, the singer launched the album with a BBC concert special that aired in November and then followed it up a month later with a Jimmy Fallon–hosted concert for NBC.