Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Plain White T’s to make song you don’t like into TV show you won’t watch

Illustration for article titled The Plain White T’s to make song you don’t like into TV show you won’t watch
Photo: Jesse Grant (Getty Images)

2006 was a simpler time. Not necessarily a better time, but a simpler one. And the soundtrack to all of it, from Facebook allowing non-students to join the budding social network for the first time to Borat topping the box office to then-Vice President Dick Cheney shooting his friend while quail hunting, was “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s.

Formed in Lombard, Illinois in 1997, the Plain White T’s spent the better part of a decade slugging it out in bars and clubs across the country. Their sound, which skirted the line between pop-punk and power pop, was de rigueur, so much so, that their song “All That We Needed,” the title track from their third album, used the exact same drum intro as Fall Out Boy’s “Dance Dance.” But, nestled at the very end of All That We Needed was “Hey There Delilah,” a plaintive acoustic ballad about falling in love with a woman who was going to school in New York City. Which—get this—is very far away from the Midwest.

That simple message resonated, so much so that, in 2006, Plain White T’s singer Tom Higgenson re-recorded it for a standalone EP, as well as for the band’s fourth album, Every Second Counts. The world was crazy with Delilah fever, needing three versions of this song to sate them. Over the next year, the song would only become more pervasive. In July 2007, it hit number one on the Billboard charts in America—a feat that would be accomplished in numerous other countries—before eventually going platinum. “Hey There Delilah” was on the radio every day for a full calendar year, keeping the world rapt with questions such as, “Do you think Delilah and this guy with the hair made it work?”


Well, if the Plain White T’s have their way, we will soon have a definitive answer to this lingering question. Today, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the band has teamed up with Lively McCabe Entertainment and Primary Wave to craft a scripted dramedy based on the song itself. Higgerson came up with the idea, and as Lively McCabe’s co-president Michael Barra puts it, “‘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.” The show is being shopped around to potential networks now, and we have all these people who were literally begging to thank for it.

The news also reframes the song’s final verse in a new way, as Higgerson singing, “You’ll know it’s all because of you / We can do whatever we want to,” was not just a simple rhyme, but a promise of a future television development deal. And really, isn’t that what love is all about?

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