NBC announced Monday that it will stage a live rendition of The Music Man late next year. The story of a con man whose last big grift is selling music lessons to the children of a small town first won over fans on Broadway in 1957. Robert Preston starred in a film adaptation in 1962, but this is the first time The Music Man will be scened in front of a live television audience.
NBC suits are banking on the success of last year’s Carrie Underwood-led The Sound of Music; a critical failure for Underwood, but a ratings smash for the Peacock’s struggling Thursday night lineup. The heavily-promoted production amassed more than 18 million viewers, making the live broadcast NBC’s highest-rated show since 2009?s series finale of ER.
The success of Sound reportedly inspired NBC to make live musicals a holiday tradition. (Think: The annual A Christmas Story marathon that runs every Christmas eve on TBS.) The Music Man announcement previously announced plans for a live rendition of Peter Pan. FOX will be dipping its toes into the genre with a live performance of Grease set to debut next year.