Grease was the word. Now the word is â€œlive.â€
In an age when more and more viewers are binge-viewing, streaming and watching on demand, American broadcasters are fighting back with as much live event television as they can muster. More is on their way, with Fox mounting a two-hour production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for fall (with Tim Curry narrating) and NBC bringingHairspray back as its next live holiday extravaganza.
Here are some recent Broadway to TV musical milestones:
The Wiz Live! (2015)
Critics loved this adaptation of the 1978 film, with unknown Shanice Williams drawing raves as Dorothy. It was a ratings bounceback for NBC, too, pulling 11.5 million live viewers.
Peter Pan Live! (2014)
Critics â€œpannedâ€ the show, saying it would have been given the hook on Broadway. Lead Allison Williams drew the most ire, although Christopher Walken as Hook took his knocks. Ratings fell to less than half what Sound of Music drew the year before.
The Sound of Music Live! (2013)
Bette Midler wowed critics â€” and won a Golden Globe â€” with this revival of the Broadway hit. Cynthia Gibb, Peter Riegert, Ed Asner and Andrea Martin had roles in support. Not live, but still a big holiday hit on CBS.