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‘Hairspray’ live musical to premiere on NBC

It looks like live musical remakes are the latest trend on television!

Since NBC had so much success with their live adaptation of The Wiz, the network is up for another. Hairspray is the next musical that will hit TV screens, according to network head Robert Greenblatt’s announcement at the Television Critics Association’s press tour Wednesday.

“I’m happy to say that we are hopefully going to produce a live new movie of Hairspray next December, Greenblatt said, according to Entertainment Weekly. He added that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, producers of The Wiz, will be returning for the project.

Deals have not been secured, but a formal announcement is expected to come out soon.

This production will follow behind the incredibly successful The Wiz Live, their 2013 production A Sound of Music Live and their disappointing debut of Peter Pan Live in 2014. Zadan and Meron are responsible for all of these live musicals.

The Wiz Live was viewed by 11.1 million people, according to EW, and it delivered a 3.3 rating for adults between 18 and 49. Those numbers were much higher than the numbers for Peter Pan Live, which brought in 9.2 million viewers are received a 2.4 rating. However, neither beat out A Sound of Music Live, which had nearly 19 million people tuning in and a 4.6 rating.

Some expected the 1957 hit The Music Man to be NBC’s next musical after The Wiz because the network had been weighing it as an option. Obviously, they went in a different direction.

“People have been saying to me since The Wiz, ‘Do this show, do that show,” Greenblatt explained. “I’ve heard obscure titles and famous titles. Not everything’s going to be a big name to the whole audience. I don’t think there’s an infinite number of these that can be done. But we’re still doing it.”

Hairspray first hit the big screens in 1988. The John Waters-directed movie starred Debbie Harry and Ricki Lake. The story was then brought to Broadway in 2002, followed by a return to theaters. The Zadan and Meron-produced 2007 version starred Michelle Pfeiffer and John Travolta.

Greenblatt said that casting for the musical has yet to be discussed. However, he said that the network has “dream casting.” He added that they aren’t really trying to get actors from the 2007 film to return.

“I don’t think we’re going to try to replicate the movie. We want to do a new version of it.” But, he said he wouldn’t be disappointed if Travolta came back. “Sure, we’d take John Travolta. He did it. I don’t think that would be a possibility, but we’d be thrilled to have John Travolta,” he said.

NBC isn’t the only network to pick up on the growing musical trend. Fox will be airing their live musical production of Grease on Jan. 31. The show will star Julianne Hough, Aaron Tveit, Carly Rae Jepsen, Carlos PenaVega, Keke Palmer, Vanessa Hudgens and Kether Donahue.

Grease:Live also recently announced that band Boyz II Men will play a trio of Teen Angels and the Joe Jonas-fronted band DNCE will play Johnny Casino and the Gamblers.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as, and Contact Meredith: