NBC had huge success with “The Sound of Music Live” two years ago, pulling 18.5 million viewers for the one-off event. Yet while many know “The Sound of Music” off by heart, inexplicably the network chose the far less popular or even known stage musical version of “Peter Pan” for a follow-up.
Understandably, the ratings fell with just 9.1 million viewers tuning in for that broadcast. At the TCA Winter Tour presentation this week, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt put the blame for the failure on the lack of star power and the lack of awareness of “Peter Pan” as a stage musical. They also suggested either “The Wiz” or “The Music Man” for their next attempt.
If there’s one musical movie as ubiquitous and well-known as “The Sound of Music” though, it’s “Grease” and FOX announced plans today for a live television production of “Grease: The Musical”. The broadcast plans to “re-imagine the hit crossover musical for an entirely new generation.”
Julianne Hough (“Safe Haven,” “Rock of Ages”) will play Sandy and Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical,” “Spring Breakers”) will star as Rizzo in “Grease: Live,” taking on the roles made famous by Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing in the original. Further casting will be announced at a later date.
FOX is targeting a January 31st 2016 premiere date for the special.