NBC Is Officially In The Live Musical Business Now

Fresh off the staggering success of this weekend’s The Sound of Music, NBC’s Robert Greenblatt has confirmed that the network plans to do another huge live musical special thingy next year for the holiday season, and possibly for many holiday seasons to come.

Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC’s entertainment division, said on Monday that the network would mount another live production next year for the holidays that would be led by the “Sound of Music” executive producers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. In a telephone interview, the three men said they had begun work on selecting another musical. Mr. Greenblatt said they were “circling a couple of titles” that fit their prerequisites: family-friendly Broadway classics with a lot of familiar songs. [NY Times]

Now, Will Smith and Jay Z are already making their own feature-film version of Annie for Christmas 2014 that stars Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wells, so I suppose we can rule that one out. But don’t worry, musical fans, Greenblatt says he has tons of options. And one of his co-producers has pinpointed the key to the special’s giant ratings.

One crucial element to the success of The Sound of Music, [Neil] Meron said, was securing Carrie Underwood, the country music star who played Maria, the role made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1965 movie. “She really delivered her audience, her fan base,” Mr. Meron said. The executives said that the ratings were three times what they had predicted.

So, to recap, NBC is looking for “Broadway classics with a lot of familiar songs” and a big shining star to deliver ratings. My vote? An updated version of West Side Story with tiny pop music sensation Ariana Grande in the role of Maria. And starring as her love interest Tony, making his musical debut, you guessed it, action star and former WWE World Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Ratings bonanza.