Fifty years ago, December 3, 1968, NBC aired an Elvis Presley special celebrating his return to music after taking off several years to focus on his acting career. The show, commonly known as the ’68 Comeback Special, helped relaunch the King’s career. Next year, the peacock network plans on honoring the importance of the program in music and TV history with another televised event — Elvis All-Star Tribute.
Scheduled to air on Sunday, February 17, 2019, from 9 to 11 p.m., the new special will be hosted by country singer and The Voice coach Blake Shelton, according to an NBC press release published on the Futon Critic website.
Elvis All-Star Tribute will feature a recreation of the legendary night, including the staging, with a bevy of popular musicians performing the classic tunes Presley sang during his special, such as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Love Me Tender,” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” The list of stars taking part will be revealed in early 2019.
Additionally, rare Presley footage and interviews with those involved with the original special — including his then-wife Priscilla Presley and director Steve Binder — will be incorporated into the show.
Producer Ken Ehrlich will helm the project. He is known for working on many music-focused specials for television, including every Grammy Awards telecast since 1980 and Grammy-related programming, the Global Citizen Festival broadcasts, and Pentatonix: A Not So Silent Night, which will air on NBC on Monday, December 10.
“I can remember sitting in front of my television set and watching the Elvis special,” Ehrlich recalled.
“I already knew that I could never do what he did as an artist, but seeing that show had a great deal to do with my dreams of having a career in television production. To this day, I’ve been grateful to Elvis and producer/director Steve Binder for inspiring me to be able to revisit that event 50 years later and pay our own homage to what an iconic moment that was in both music and television.”
50 years ago, Elvis Presley's Comeback Special aired on @nbc . And on February 17, I'll be hosting a special #ElvisAllStarTribute on the same network to honor The King! See y'all there. pic.twitter.com/EK1DWITnkw
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) December 3, 2018
In the ’68 Comeback Special, Presley — wearing the now-famous black leather jumpsuit — performed with a full band in-the-round in front of a small and intimate audience. It was his first live TV performance in seven years since he was busy in Hollywood working on movies such as Girls! Girls! Girls!, Fun in Acapulco, and Viva Las Vegas. It was the No. 1 show on NBC that season.
Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42. He is survived by his only child, 50-year-old daughter Lisa Marie Presley.