'Crucifixion' May Cost Madonna TV Special

But the singer is now the top-grossing female tour artist of all time

Photo: Jun Sato/WireImage

The crucifixion scene Madonna performs on her “Confessions” tour, which has already sparked outrage among religious leaders in the U.S. and in Europe, may cost her a planned November special for NBC, according to the New York Daily News.

But with that bad news also comes good news: Thanks to that tour, which wraps on Thursday at the Tokyo Dome, Madonna is now the top-grossing female tour artist of all time, Reuters reports.

Her box-office take: an estimated $193.7 million, after 60 shows that drew nearly 1.2 million fans, which betters the take by previous record holder Cher, who raked in $192.5 million.

Still, it took Cher 273 shows between June 2002 and April 2005 during her marathon “Farewell” tour to pull in such green.

In the past six years, Reuters says, Madonna has sold a staggering $400 million worth of tickets.

As for the proposed TV show, “NBC is awaiting delivery of the special,” a network rep told the Daily News. “Once we see it in its entirety, we’ll make a final decision.” Madonna’s rep said that her team would issue its own statement, possibly as soon as Thursday.

At issue from the show’s May opening in Los Angeles through performances in Rome and Moscow has been a scene in which Madonna hangs on a cross wearing a crown of thorns while singing “Live to Tell.”

At the time of her Rome concert, the Vatican accused Madonna of blasphemy and provocation for even considering staging the sham crucifixion on its doorstep. Madonna responded by inviting Pope Benedict to the show. (He did not attend.)

Madonna has defended the scene as part of her appeal to audiences to donate to AIDS charities. “I don’t think Jesus would be mad at me and the message I’m trying to send,” she told the Daily News in May.

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