Vanessa Hudgens, Julianne Hough land FOX’s ‘Grease: Live’ leads

NBC's “Peter Pan Live!” may not have been a smash, but FOX's previously announced “Grease: Live” is still moving forward with both a premiere date and pair of female leads.

FOX announced on Saturday (January 17) that Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens will take key roles in “Grease: Live,” which will be based on both the original musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, but also the 1978 feature adaptation. 

“Grease: Live” will air on FOX on Sunday, January 31, 2016. So yes, that's a long time for Hough, Hudgens and the yet-to-be-announced castmembers to get prepared.

Blurbs executive producer Marc Platt, “'Grease' is one of the most treasured and favored pop culture phenomenons of our time. It's fun, it's endearing and we are so excited to reimagine this iconic story with a shared entertainment event suited for today's audience.”

Hough will play the lead role of Sandy, virginal new girl at Rydell High. The part was played by Carole Demas in the original cast, but Olivia Newton John's performance in the 1978 feature is pretty iconic. After making her mark on “Dancing with the Stars,” Hough had a 2008 hit country album and has appeared in films including “Footloose” and “Rock of Ages.”

“‘Grease” is one of the movies that made me want to be an entertainer, and I have literally been waiting my whole life to play Sandy,” blurbs the 26-year-old Hough. “My siblings and I watched it and played it out over and over when we were kids. This is my dream role and performing it live on television will be one of the most thrilling opportunities I”ve had in my career so far.”

As for Hudgens, the “Spring Breakers” and “High School Musical” star will play bad-girl Rizzo, a role originated by Adrienne Barbeau on Broadway and by Stockard Channing on the big screen. Hudgens is making her Broadway debut this year in “Gigi.”

“Being Rizzo is something I”ve never imagined, and I love that because it will be a new challenge,” states Hudgens. “She is such an iconic character that continues to transcend generations. I cannot wait to bring her to life on live television. I”m going to be a Pink Lady!”

But who will play Danny? Or Kenickie? Or Teen Angel? Stay tuned!

By the time “Grease: Live” premieres on FOX, NBC will presumably have aired its third live musical, following the hit “Sound of Music” and the disappointment of “Peter Pan.” At the press tour on Friday, NBC executives said that the 2015 live musical will be either “The Music Man” or “The Wiz.”