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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, August 09, 2018 1:00 am

Love song might become scripted TV series

Allyson Chiu | Washington Post

“Hey there, Delilah, what's it like in New York City?”

More than a decade ago, that single question – the opening line of the Grammy-nominated love song “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T's – captivated millions of people and had them all asking the same things: Who is Delilah? Is she real? What is it like in New York City?

As it turns out, Delilah is in fact a real person, named Delilah DiCrescenzo, and the band's frontman, Tom Higgenson, wrote the song after meeting her in 2002. Described by Time as “an intimate love song that's damn near universal,” the acoustic guitar ballad, released in 2006, tells the story of a struggling singer-songwriter (Higgenson) pining for a university student who lives in New York (DiCrescenzo).

While many long thought the entire love story fit into 3 minutes 52 seconds, that's not the case anymore. Now, fans may finally be able to stop wondering what it's like in New York City for Delilah. They could potentially see it themselves – in a scripted TV series.

On Tuesday, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the band has been working with production companies, Lively McCabe Entertainment and Primary Wave, to create a “romantic dramedy” based on the hit song.

“ 'Hey There Delilah' is a perfect example of an iconic story song that has introduced characters and a premise to a massive multigenerational audience, and is begging to be expanded into a full-length story for contemporary television audiences,” Michael Barra, Lively McCabe Entertainment's co-president, said in a statement to THR.

Billed as a “contemporary fairy tale,” the potential series, which will be pitched to networks and studios this month, aims to expand on the original story in the song, according to THR.

“It's been more than a decade since 'Hey There Delilah' was released, and people always ask me about it. A whole lot of people really connected with that song, and I'm very proud of that,” Higgenson told THR.

“Hey There Delilah” is not the first song to be adapted for TV.

In June, country star Dolly Parton announced that she would be partnering with Warner Bros. Television to produce a TV film series for Netflix, which is set to debut in 2019. Each installment will be based on one of her classic songs, the statement said.

Additionally, many movies have drawn inspiration from popular songs. In 2007, Beatles songs became the framework for “Across the Universe,” a movie musical that went on to be nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. A year later, Jessica Chastain starred in “Jolene,” based on Parton's song of the same name.

“Deliliah” started about 16 years ago when Higgenson met DiCrescenzo, then a student at Columbia University, through a mutual friend in Chicago. DiCrescenzo was already dating someone, but the pair kept in touch. A few months later, the musician told her eight life-changing words: “I'm going to write a song about you.”