By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Carrie Underwood is following into Julie Andrews’ footsteps. In her first major acting gig, the Grammy winner has been tapped to star as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound Of Music. It’s based on the original Broadway musical and is executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, producers of NBC’s Smash and the 2013 Academy Awards. The three-hour event will air near the holidays in 2013. “Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn’t be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp,” said NBC’s chairman Bob Greenblatt. “She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.” Added Zadan and Meron, “It’s a particular joy to us as producers to see this amazing artist stretch into new territory with this classic musical.” More
By Lesley Goldberg
The Queen Latifah starrer from “Smash” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ranks as the network’s third-most-watched telecast ever.
The telepic, starring Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad and Alfre Woodard, collected 6.5 million total viewers, ranking as the female-skewing cable network’s third-most-watched telecast ever.
The remake from Latifah and Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron posted Lifetime’s best delivery since 2006’s Life is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, and the No. 1 cable movie among total viewers since 2007 (excluding miniseries). More
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are developing another hourlong series for NBC in which music plays a key part. The duo is executive producing a dramedy written/executive produced by Grey’s Anatomy alumna Krista Vernoff. It will feature the music catalog of songwriter Diane Warren, who serves as a consulting producer. More
By Nellie Andreeca
EXCLUSIVE: Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have set up the first project through the first-look deal they signed with Universal TV and NBCUni’s international TV production division in July. NBC has bought an hourlong drama from the duo and former General Hospital head writer Sri Rao. Tentatively titled White House Confidential, the project is described as an upstairs-downstairs-type soap set in the White House, told from the point of view of a young female doctor who has a secret from her past. More
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Storyline Entertainment’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have signed a new two-year deal with Sony Pictures Television for TV movies and miniseries. The duo, who just closed a first-look deal with Universal TV and NBCUniversal International for series and specials, have set up several high-profile new longform projects: movies about Anna Nicole Smith and Warren Jeffs at Lifetime and a Bonnie & Clyde miniseries at History. More
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. & LONDON, UK – July 31, 2012 – Universal Television and NBCUniversal International have signed a development deal with Storyline Entertainment’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“Smash,” “Chicago,” “Hairspray”) that will give the studio a first look at series and specials created by the acclaimed multi-award winning producers for US and international television markets. The deal was announced today by Bela Bajaria, Executive Vice President, Universal Television and Michael Edelstein, President, NBCUniversal International Television Production. More
By Jamie Wetherbe
Network television will soon be live with the sound of music.
NBC announced Friday that it will partner with “Smash” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron for a live TV broadcast of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “The Sound of Music.”
“There used to be a tradition of broadcasting musicals live back in the 1950s, and we’re thrilled to do it once again,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a release. More
By Kenneth Jones
Jennifer Hudson. Photo by Nathan Beckner
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, of “Dreamgirls” movie fame, will play a Tony Award-winning Broadway star in a multi-episode arc in the second season of the NBC-TV musical series “Smash.” The casting was announced by Universal on June 22.
Shooting for the hourlong series’ next chapter begins this summer in and around New York City. It will return to the NBC schedule in mid-season, in the winter. Jeremy Jordan, a 2012 Tony nominee for Broadway’s Newsies, was previously announced the join the cast in season two.
Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy-winning actress-singer Hudson will make her first appearance in the second season’s first episode. Hudson will play Veronica Moore, a Broadway star “who impacts the lives” of Broadway newbie Karen (Katharine McPhee) and veteran chorus girl Ivy (Megan Hilty), according to the producers. More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
NBC has renewed midseason musical drama Smash for a second season. The move is not surprising given that fact that Smash was the highest-profile and most heavily promoted new NBC series this season. With NBC’s top entertainment show, The Voice, as a lead-in, Smash ranks as the network’s highest rated drama in adults 18-49 (2.6 rating) and total viewers (7.7 million). After a strong start the night after the Super Bowl, Smash dropped in the ratings but leveled off relatively quickly, staying above the 2 18-49 rating with the help of its big lead-in. Smash, which posted a 2.3 demo rating on Monday, chronicles the birth of a Broadway musical. Stemming from an idea of executive producer Steven Spielberg, the series stars Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Anjelica Huston, More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Lifetime has assembled the cast of its Steel Magnolia
reboot. Queen Latifah has signed on to star in and executive produce the original movie,
an updated, contemporary TV adaptation of the play and 1989 film of the same name. She is joined on the all-Black cast by Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, Adepero Oduye and Rashad’s daughter, Condola Rashad.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Steel Magnolias chronicles the lives and friendship of six women in Louisiana: ‘M’Lynn’ (Queen Latifah), Ouiser (Woodard), Clairee (Phylicia Rashad), Truvy (Scott), Annelle (Oduye) and Shelby (Condola Rashad). Supporting each other through their triumphs and tragedies, they congregate at Truvy’s beauty shop to ponder the mysteries of life and death, husbands and children – and hair and nails – all the important topics that bring women together. More
‘The Vow’ director will steer fictional story set to band’s music
By JEFF SNEIDER
“The Vow” helmer Michael Sucsy is in negotiations to direct Fox 2000’s untitled musical scripted by Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) that will be set to the music of The Beach Boys.
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the team behind successful bigscreen musicals “Hairspray” and “Chicago,” will produce with John Stamos.
The original musical, which is based on a fictional story and characters created by Grant, will be driven by the music of The Beach Boys. More
By: RICK KISSELL
Net dominates in demos on night after Super Bowl
NBC’s Broadway-themed drama “Smash” opened to good numbers Monday, airing behind the timeslot debut of “The Voice,” which followed up its monster post-Super Bowl premiere one night earlier with very impressive numbers. The shows combined for easily the net’s top non-sports scores this season.
It will take a while to see where both shows settle, but NBC has to be pleased with the launch of “Smash,” which averaged a 3.8 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers overall, according to affiliate-based preliminary estimates from Nielsen. Though it fell off in its second half-hour as expected (from 4.2 to 3.4 in 18-49), “Smash” led its hour over competing dramas “Hawaii Five-0” on CBS (2.7/7 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) and “Castle” on ABC (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall). More
By NELLIE ANDREEVA
EXCLUSIVE: Young Australian actors Brenton Thwaites and Indiana Evans are following in the footsteps of Christopher Atkins & Brooke Shields and Brian Krause & Milla Jovovich as the leads of The Blue Lagoon, Lifetime’s contemporary remake of the 1980 romance/adventure movie starring Shields and Atkins. (Jovovich and Krause toplined the 1991 sequel.) In the story, which echoes the biblical tale of Adam and Eve and is based on the novel by Henry De Vere Stacpoole, Thwaites and Evans will play Dane and Emma, a boy and a girl marooned on a tropical island where they grow up together, fall in love and discover sexuality. More