NBC Confirms Plan for 2014 Live Musical with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron
According to The New York Times, Robert Greenblatt, NBC's chairman of the entertainment division, has confirmed that the network will stage another live musical in 2014, with 'MUSIC' executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan.
As of now, the trio are working on whittling down a list of potential productions. Greenblatt noted that the network was "circling a couple of titles" that featured "family-friendly Broadway classics with a lot of familiar songs."
"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 also hinted that NBC staging a live musical may indeed become an annual event.
"There's enough to do a handful of these over the next years, if we keep increasing the learning curve," he said. "There may be a little bit of a phenomenon to the first one of these. 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."
Greenblatt also said the network would set aside less time than the 18 months THE SOUND OF MUSIC took to bring to the soundstage on Dec. 5, claiming that "we know a lot about how to do it."
The trio also stood behind casting country superstar Carrie Underwood in the leading role of 'Maria,' with Greenblatt saying "I'm not sure almost 20 million people would have come out for a lot of other names." They also note that others had suggested suitable stars to take the lead role - such as Anne Hathaway - but couldn't, and likely wouldnt, set aside the necessary amount of time to prepare for the live rendition.
The Sound of Music Live! dominated the night with NBC's best 18-49 Thursday average, excluding sports, since the night of the "ER" finale (5.2, April 2, 2009). In total viewers, this is NBC's best Thursday average excluding sports since May 13, 2004 ("Frasier" finale night, 22.597 million viewers).
The Sound of Music Live! music from the NBC Television event, is also now available, including studio recordings for all of the musical numbers that were performed by the cast members in the live broadcast, including Rodgers and Hammerstein favorites "The Sound of Music," "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," among others.
Executive producers for the telecast were Neil Meron and Craig Zadan ("Smash," "The Academy Awards"). Directors were Rob Ashford ("Evita") and Beth McCarthy-Miller ("30 Rock"). David Chase ("Cinderella") served as musical director.
Photo by Linda Lenzi