At today’s Variety’s annual TV Summit held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, playwright Aaron Sorkin revealed the news that Scott Ellis will direct NBC’s upcoming live adaptation of A FEW GOOD MEN. The ‘West Wing’ scribe said of the multi-Tony nominated Broadway director, “I couldn’t be more excited.”
Ellis directs the current revival of Roundabout Theatre Company’s SHE LOVES ME. His other Broadway credits include “Steel Pier,” “1776,” “Twelve Angry Men,” “Curtains,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “You Can’t Take It with You.” He also served as executive producer on Showtime’s “Weeds” and has directed episodes of “Modern Family,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Good Wife,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Frasier” and “30 Rock,” for which he was nominated for an Emmy.
Producers of NBC’s “Hairspray Live” have tapped a 20-year-old actress and singer from Texas for the lead role as Tracy Turnblad in the 1960s-set musical.
Maddie Baillio of League City, Texas, was unveiled as the “Hairspray Live” star Tuesday morning on NBC’s “Today.” She was chosen from a field of nearly 1,000 actresses who turned out for an open casting call earlier this year. She’ll star opposite Harvey Fierstein, who appeared with Baillio on “Today.” Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short and Derek Hough are also on board.
Talk about a trip of a lifetime: NBC is sending Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, and George Foreman on what appears to be a small-screen reality version of The Bucket List.
Katie Couric is joining Craig Zadan and Neil Meron as an executive producer onFlint, the duo’s Lifetime original movie about the drinking water contamination disaster in Flint, MI, from Sony Pictures Television.
The hard-hitting, fact-based drama will examine the events that led to the “toxic crime” committed against the residents of the town of Flint, Michigan. It is looking to focus not only on the politics and poor management that led to the poisoning of the water, but also on the human element of the residents who not only suffered, but whose voices were ignored.
NBC’s Hairspray Live! continues to draw impressive names.
Martin Short and Derek Hough have signed on for the upcoming musical production, NBC announced Wednesday.
Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG and Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson and multiple Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein will headline the cast of NBC’s “Hairspray Live!,” the network’s next live Broadway musical holiday event following the phenomenal success of “The Wiz Live!”
Also joining the creative team will be acclaimed television director Alex Rudzinski, who received extraordinary reviews for his television direction of “Grease Live!” Rudzinski was also the TV director for “Dancing With the Stars” from 2005-14.
One of the biggest man-made humanitarian crises in recent U.S. history — the drinking water contamination in Flint, Michigan — will be the subject of Flint, an original movie, which has been put on fast-track development at Lifetime. It hails from The Wiz Live producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron and Sony Pictures Television.
Aaron Sorkin will stage a live version of “A Few Good Men” on NBC in early 2017, the network announced Wednesday.
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.