Boston Pops’ annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular has earned its spot as a national event. For over 20 years, Americans from coast to coast could tune into CBS to watch and celebrate the birth of our country, right where our country was born. Boston may not take the national stage when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving Day parades or New Year’s Eve parties, but on July 4th, we got our chance to shine in the spotlight.
Well, not anymore.
CBS has decided not to renew another five-year contract to nationally broadcast the Boston Pops fireworks show for the first time in two decades. Ratings have fallen in recent years, but according to the Boston Globe, officials at CBS gave no concrete reason as to why the broadcast will not be shown, instead just pointing local residents toward Boston’s CBS-owned WBZ-TV station, which will be airing the event.
On the Fourth of July, most people don’t plan to spend the night inside, watching a broadcast of another city’s fireworks display from their living room, opting instead for outdoor barbecues and local events. But Boston’s spot in the evening’s lineup secured our Spectacular as the standard for celebration. A dip in the ratings, even if it’s a significant one, shouldn’t be enough to take that national platform away from us so easily.
According to the Globe, the show’s executive producer David Mugar has a theory as to why the Boston Pops won’t be broadcast nationally – because the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show on NBC promised too much competition.
This year’s Macy’s show will feature celebrity appearances from Usher, Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, Tim McGraw, and more. While the Boston Pops brought in celebrities like Jennifer Hudson and Martina McBride in the past, this year’s lineup lays relatively low, opting for local talent like former Senator Scott Brown’s daughter, Ayla Brown.
For two years, NBC has broadcast Macy’s Fourth of July show twice: once earlier in the evening, and an encore showing during the Boston Pops slot. Mugar believes this “siphoning” of Boston’s viewers has sealed the fate of the broadcast.
And perhaps this summer seems like a most inopportune time to yank Boston in all its glory from the national stage. The country came together in overwhelming support for our city following the Boston Marathon attacks in April, and a knockout Fourth of July event would serve as a positive symbol of our resilience.
Instead, those outside of Boston will see a rerun of the CBS drama “Person of Interest” in the slot where the July 4th Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular used to be. And that’s just downright depressing.