NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in an interview with The New York Times that they were "circling a couple of titles" that could be staged next year, to be led by Sound of Music producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. The only rules are that they must be Broadway classics with a slew 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 confirmed that live TV musicals may become an annual thing for the network come the holidays, voicing his belief that event television is crucial to the future of broadcast.
"There’s enough to do a handful of these over the next years, if we keep increasing the learning curve," Greenblatt 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.”
It's no slam dunk. I know that they stopped making filmed musicals for TV when a few didn’t do well, and that could happen here. But live musicals are a different fish. They're something than can be heavily promoted as a Special Event, and there is always at least some semblance of curiosity factor built in. At least live musicals for TV have a foot on the path toward the right direction.
We’ll see what they choose to do next. As noted here previously, Leslie Bricusse adapted Scrooge for the stage, and that would seem to be ideal -- except that it doesn't meet their criteria of a classic with many well-known songs.– Dickens for Christmas. (They actually did a TV production of Pickwick and aired on NBC-owned stations as an annual Christmas special for two years in the early 1970s.)
I passed that suggestion along to a friend, Barry Glasser, and he came back with a better one, based on the same principal. His suggestion was Oliver! Now, that has nothing to do with Christmas, of course, but it’s Dickens and would be a great choice. He even suggested Bryan Cranston as Fagin. I have no idea if he can sing, but if so, and wanted to do it, he’d be brilliant in it. But then, it’s a great showcase for any star willing to take the leap. Rowan Atkinson did it a couple years ago on the West End.
Updates as they occur.