NBC and Fox announce live TV musical developments

By: Allison Wisyanski ~Staff Writer~

Both NBC and Fox have plans to broadcast live-action musicals for next winter. Following the ratings success of “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan,” NBC has planned another live musical. According to Entertainment Weekly, Chief Robert Greenblatt told reporters that the network has received the licensing rights to “The Wiz” and “The Music Man” as of Jan. 16.

Grease cast - eonline dot com
Hudgens (left) and Hough (right) are cast as Rizzo and Sandy, respectively.

Greenblatt likes the idea of “The Music Man.” “It’s contemporary, it’s multicultural, it’s cool. And we can make a lot of money from it. The movie, creatively I don’t think it worked on film, but we have a chance to do another version of it that’s truly a stage show,”
Greenblatt said to USA Today. NBC has yet to decide on which musical is to air as a follow up to “Peter Pan,” but one will premiere next holiday season and the other in 2016. The same producers behind “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan,” Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, are on board for both of the musicals.

NBC tells People magazine, “There has been no decision on anything as of yet.” NBC has been seeking cast members for “The Music Man.” Fox also has plans to broadcast Grease as a live primetime musical with Marc Platt as executive producer. They have already made major casting decisions for the premiere. Julianne Hough will star as summer lover Sandy Olsson and Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, the bad-girl and leader of the Pink Ladies.

“Grease is one of the movies that made me want to be an entertainer, and I have literally
been waiting my whole life to play Sandy,” Hough said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Hudgens also told Entertainment Weekly: “Being Rizzo is something I’ve never imagined, and I love that because it will be a new challenge. She is such an iconic character that continues to transcend generations. I cannot wait to bring her to life on television. I’m going to be a Pink Lady.”

Fox expects a large audience for this premiere. It will be its first-ever live TV production and will air Jan. 31, 2016.