Director Kenny Leon, who won praise in December for starting The Wiz Live for NBC, will return in December for the Peacock web’s fourth live musical venture, Hairspray Live. The show will be based on the 2002 Broadway musical blockbuster that was an adaptation of John Waters’ 1988 film (and remade from the musical version in the 2007 John Travolta-Queen Latifah starrer). The telecast will air December 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, whose work has traversed film, television and theatre, have earned a total of six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 14 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, a Grammy Award, six GLAAD Awards and two Tony Awards. Their work includes THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE, HAIRSPRAY, FOOTLOOSE, CHICAGO, THE BUCKET LIST, PETER PAN LIVE, THE WIZ LIVE, GYPSY, CINDERELLA, THE MUSIC MAN, PROMISES, PROMISES, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS… and so much more.
Most recently, for their work on THE WIZ LIVE, they were honored earlier this week by the NAACP. At the Image Awards ceremony on Thursday evening, THE WIZ received two awards, including Outstanding Actor in a TV-Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special (David Alan Grier) and Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special.
Zadan and Meron took the time to chat with BroadwayWorld about their big wins and the incredible experience of working on THE WIZ LIVE, as well as the early stages of some of their upcoming projects, including bringing HAIRSPRAY to live-television audiences and taking BOMBSHELL to Broadway. Check out the full interview below!
NAACP IMAGE AWARDS
WON– Outstanding TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
WON– David Alan Grier, Outstanding Actor in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS
Shanice Williams, Best Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series
David Alan Grier, Best Supporting Actor in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series
Ne-Yo, Best Supporting Actor in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series
Mary J. Blige, Best Supporting Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series
Best Movie Made for TV or Limited Series
DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for TV and Mini-Series:
Kenny Leon (Directed By)
Matthew Diamond (Live Television Direction By)
Associate Directors: Rae Kraus, Robin Mishkin Abrams, Adam Mishler
Key Stage Managers: Andrew C. Gottlieb, Jeff Markowitz
Stage Managers: Cyndi Owgang, Jeffrey L. Pearl, Annette Powlis, Elise Reaves, Cody Renard Richard, Sarah Testerman
ART DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS
Awards or Event Special
COSTUME DESIGNERS GUILD
Outstanding Fantasy Television Series
NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt just made the announcement at TCA. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the executive producers behind NBC’s live musical franchise, return. […] The deal closed minutes before NBC’s TCA presentation. Zadan and Meron also produced the 2007 Hairspray movie. This will be NBC’s fourth consecutive live musical, following The Sound of Music, Peter Pan and The Wiz.
NBC is staging a The Wiz reunion.
The network has picked up a script from The Wiz executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan that’s based on the life of the live musical’s choreographer, Fatima Robinson, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Inspired by Robinson’s life as a dancer-turned-choreographer, the untitled drama is set in Los Angeles with early plans to set it in the 1990s as dance begins to dominate pop culture on the streets and clubs that gave birth to hip-hop dance.
According to Joe Adalian, editor for New York Magazine’s Vulture, on a percentage basis, ratings gains for NBC’s THE WIZ LIVE! are now on par with the network’s SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE, which aired in 2013. This year’s live production added approximately 20% and garnering a 2.9 A18-49 and over 11 million viewers. In addition, with three days of DVR replays, THE WIZ LIVE jumped to a 4.0 A18-49 (+0.6) and 13.4M (+2M) viewers.
The Shanice Williams musical was not only a stud in Thursday night’s ratings, it’s now the most-tweeted live special program in Nielsen history. That excludes awards shows and political events, and dates back to October 2011. Plus, “The Wiz Live!” very comfortably topped its predecessors “The Sound of Music Live!” and “Peter Pan Live!” combined in terms of total tweets.
Last night, 279,363 people sent 1.64 million tweets about “The Wiz Live!,” which were seen by 6.37 million people a total of 128.95 million times.
Universal Pictures has found a director for Monster High, the live action film the studio hopes will add to its arsenal of movie franchises. The job is going to Ari Sandel, who won the Oscar for his short film West Bank Story and followed up by directing The Duff for CBS Films.
Universal Pictures has just acquired In Sight, a character-driven psychological thriller pitch from prolific producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron that has Joseph Gordon-Levitt attached to star. Gordon-Levitt, of course, stars in Robert Zemeckis’ 3D pic The Walk, which opened last night in previews. That movie is from TriStar, and we hear TriStar and Sony were all over In Sight too, but Uni wanted it and got the pitch for high-six figures to win a bidding war.
A decade after Six Feet Under ended its run on HBO, another funeral home family drama with an unusual twist is headed to TV. NBC has put in development an hourlong workplace soap with musical elements from Jason Katims’ True Jack Prods. and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’s Storyline Entertainment.
NBC has put in development By The Book, a single-camera comedy from Dava Savel(Will & Grace) & Tim Sullivan (Letters To Juliet) and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’sStoryline Entertainment.
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are two of the most renowned producers working in the industry today. They are best known for their work on the past three Academy Awards ceremonies, The Sound of Music Live!, Peter Pan Live! and Smash. Their Broadway credits include Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Film credits include Hairspray, Chicago, A Raisin in the Sun and Footloose. Upcoming projects include The Wiz Live!, the movie adaptation of Pippin and much more.
The pair chatted with Richard Ridge and shared photos from their personal collection and amazing careers. Check these special photos out below!
BroadwayWorld.com recently sat down with the very busy dynamic duo of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to discuss… well, everything.
Ne-Yo and Common have joined the cast of NBC’s upcoming holiday production ofThe Wiz Live!, set to air December 3. Additionally, Elijah Kelley (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) has been cast as the Scarecrow, the role Michael Jackson played in the 1978 movie version (that’s him on the right in the photo). Ne-Yo is set to play the Tin Man, and Common will play the non-singing role of the gatekeeper of Oz.
Two more A-listers have been invited to ease on down the road!
Orange is the New Black star Uzo Aduba and Glee actress Amber Riley have been added to the burgeoning cast of NBC’s upcoming live-action remake of The Wiz.
Aduba, a classically trained singer and Broadway actress, will be playing Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. Riley will play opposite Aduba, stepping into the shoes of Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North.
Tony Award nominee and multi-talented actor and singerDavid Alan Grier is joining NBC’s highly anticipated holiday production of “The Wiz Live!,” set for Thursday, Dec. 3.
Grier will play the Cowardly Lion, who asks Dorothy if he can join her in her journey down the Yellow Brick Road and ask the Wiz for some courage, which he is severely lacking.
Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige will be part of “The Wiz Live!” – the song and dance retelling of “The Wizard of Oz” slated for NBC on Dec. 3.
Like Carrie Underwood and Allison Williams before them, the Grammy-winning recording artists will be part of a live musical extravaganza. The Emmy- and Oscar-nominated “Bessie” star will play the all-powerful Wiz, and Blige will play baddie Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, the network announced Tuesday.
There are a lot of unusual paths from page to stage, but here’s one of the more meta: the imaginary show-within-a-show at the heart of a star-crossed television series is now being adapted for possible real world production.
NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures on Monday said that they would begin an effort to develop “Bombshell,” the Marilyn Monroe bio-musical featured in “Smash,” from a collection of songs into a full-blown show.