NBC commits to another live musical after ‘Sound of Music’ success

By Daniel S Levine,

In an obvious move, NBC has committed to producing another live musical after the success of last week’s The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood. Although the broadcast earned mixed ratings after it aired, over 18 million people tuned in to see how the American Idol winner and the rest of the cast could pull it off.

NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt said on Monday that the network will pull off another live musical next year, although it has yet to be determined what that will be. He told the New York Times that producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan will be back to oversee, though. Greenblatt said they were “circling a couple of titles” that will be familiar to audiences across the country.

“All weekend, people have been calling us and emailing us,” Greenblatt told the Times. “Rights holders of musicals have said, ‘Please do one of our shows.’ We’re excited to try it again.”

Greenblatt made it clear that The Sound of Music will not be just a one-off event and live musicals could turn into an annual holiday special. “There may be a little bit of a phenomenon to the first one of these,” he said. “Who knows what happens Year 2, 3 or 4. But you’ve got to have events. I think we could do this again — and again and again.”

As Deadline notes, Zadan and Meron, who produced the film version of Chicago, have plenty of TV musical experience, going back to their 1992 CBS broadcast of Gypsy. They have also produced TV versions of The Music Man, Cinderella and Annie.

The big issue with the next musical is finding a star who would commit to 10 months of preparation. Underwood was a good choice, because she has a huge fan base and can sing, even though she had zero acting experience. However, she was willing to put in the time and effort, something other top-shelf stars could not. Since one is already done though, perhaps NBC could talk an A-lister with singing and acting talent to do the 2014 special.

The Sound of Music scored a 4.6 18-49 rating and was watched by 18.5 million viewers, making it the biggest non-sports broadcast for NBC in years.

image: NBC


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