LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- NBC said today that it has come to a compromise between Madonna and religious leaders offended by her "climbing on a cross" during the scheduled broadcast of a concert from her "Confessions" tour. Rather than delete the scene, NBC has said they will show an enhanced crucifixion segment in which Madonna will actually be crucified.
Said NBC President Kevin Reilly, "This way Madonna keeps her artistic freedom, and even gets some more, the Catholic Church is completely mollified, and we keep our advertisers, plus get a boatload more. It's a win, win, win situation. I don't think I could have worked it out any better with divine inspiration."
Madonna defended her original mock-crucifixion as not being "anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous," but said a real crucifixion would be "much higher art." The pop icon said she would have to re-organize her playlist, however, since the performance of the ballad "Live to Tell," in which she sings while wearing a crown of thorns and silver cuffs attaching her to a 20-foot-high mirrored cross will now obviously have to come last.
This final crucifixion also fits with Madonna's hopes to dance out on top, not "hobble her way down like Cher," as Madonna is reported to have said recently. As the capstone to her record-breaking Confessions Tour, the NBC event could be a ratings bonanza that all but guarantees Madonna's place in entertainment history.
Media analysts are wary that the hype will exceed the reality. "We all remember Evel Knievel and the so-called Snake River Gorge Jump," said Dr. Bryan Reeves of the Stanford University Hyperbolic Media Project. "What a dud."
Following her final tour date in Tokyo on Thursday, Madonna explained the intent behind her tour crucifixion performance.
"The many misinterpretations about my appearance on the cross require I explain it myself once and for all.
"During my show, three of my dancers 'confess.' My 'confession' follows and takes place on a crucifix that I ultimately come down from. This is not a mocking of the church. It is no different than a person wearing a cross or 'Taking Up the Cross' as it says in the Bible.
"I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing.
"Please do not pass judgment without seeing my show, buying the DVD, or at least perusing my 'Sex' book."
Madonna's "Confessions Tour - Live from London" is scheduled to air on NBC in November.
Madonna plans to go to Malawi for several weeks in November to participate in the building of an orphanage and care center for the children of that country (www.RaisingMalawi.com).
Copyright 2006, Douglas Salguod