Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Billy Joel’s CBS Concert Special Abruptly Ends Mid-‘Piano Man,’ Baffling Viewers and News Anchors

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.

The CBS broadcast of Billy Joel‘s milestone 100th headlining show at Madison Square Garden was regrettably stuck between a rock and a hard place: the Masters golf tournament and the local news. The concert special, which captured the show held on March 28 and aired on Sunday evening, was subject to a number of scheduling changes that left fans — and news anchors — disappointed and frustrated when The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden – The Greatest Arena Run of All Time was ultimately cut short for time.

The Masters caused the broadcast to begin 30 minutes later than its expected 9 p.m. EST start time, which might not have caused too much upset if it didn’t lead to the show abruptly ending in the middle of “Piano Man.”

“A network programming timing error ended last night’s Billy Joel special approximately two minutes early in the Eastern and Central Time Zones,” CBS shared in a statement on Monday afternoon. “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.”

On the original setlist, the “Piano Man” singalong marked the last song before the hit-filled encore featuring “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Uptown Girl,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” and “Big Shot.” In the broadcast, the order was shifted around to close with “Piano Man,” and only “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” made the final cut.

Fans watching at home — many of whom were eagerly anticipating Joel’s first-ever television concert special since its announcement — felt as though their bubble of joy had needlessly popped. “DK whose decision it was to cut off the end of the #BillyJoel concert for local news (AFTER starting 30 min late!) but it’s unacceptable,” one fan wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “#BillyJoel100 is an iconic moment in history, & all we wanted to do was “forget about life for a while” & you destroyed it.

Another added: “You couldn’t produce a worse product than CBS just did on the Billy Joel special. Way too many commercials, didn’t play some of his best songs, went extremely out of order in his set list, and then cuts away to the local news in the middle of Piano Man?!? A total flop by CBS.”

The news anchors who unintentionally replaced Joel on all of these television screens were just as confounded. “I apologize to the people who were enjoying Billy Joel singing on TV then all of a sudden had to see my face. I’d have picked Billy Joel over me, too. I’m not even the Rex Smith who is the famous singer/actor,” an Ohio anchor wrote. “Also for the record, we have no idea why that happened that way. I’m sure it will be looked into.”


For now, The 100th: Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden is streaming on Paramount+, though the stream of the special still omits “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Uptown Girl,” and “Big Shot.”

This article was updated on Monday, April 15 at 2:25 p.m EST to include a statement from CBS.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


All products and services featured are independently chosen by editors. However, Billboard may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links, and...


“His music is our best friend for our whole life,” comedian said. “I don’t even think he can understand how much his music means...