In their ongoing attempt to suck eyeballs away from Netflix, Hulu, and a million other competitors that didn’t exist 20 years ago, NBC and Fox have been embracing the live musical. (The other half of the Big Four, CBS and ABC, still bring in old-school ratings and/or are owned by Disney. They’re doing fine.)
The trend began in earnest with 2013’s overly-earnestly The Sound of Music Live, followed quickly by Peter Pan Live, The Wiz Live, Grease: Live, Hairspray Live, and soon, Bye Bye Birdie Live and Jesus Christ Superstar Live, both of which will air on NBC. In response, Fox announced that its next musical — which executives love because viewers feel obligated to watch them as they’re airing, as opposed to a week later on the DVR when your clever tweet about Carly Rae Jepsen will be obsolete — will be A Christmas Story.
Based on Jean Shepherd’s book-turned-movie-turned-TBS staple-turned-Tony-nominated Broadway musical, A Christmas Story features new songs from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also penned the lyrics to La La Land‘s “City of Stars,” while Jonathan Tolins and Robert Cary will adapt the book.
Fox’s A Christmas Story (which premieres in December) has a three-hour running time, or twice as long as the movie, but it’s worth watching the whole thing, if only to see what they do with the Chinese restaurant scene.