I believe that many would argue the productions of The Wiz and Hairspray by NBC were more successful than that of Grease Live! or The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the Fox network. I threw my fair amount of shade at the production of Rocky I watched last October! But whether we watch NBC or Fox, we still get the popular celeb names who aren’t necessarily the right casting choice for live musical theatre… Fox just announced its plan to broadcast Rent Live! Though we don’t know of the release timeline yet, it sounds like a great choice for generating nationwide theatre nerd watchers!
NBC has worked hard to brand itself toward family friendly musicals. We know NBC as the number one source for family traditions like The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It only makes sense for them to continue on the path of wholesome family musicals to cuddle up around the television to. However, Fox’s choice to show less “family-friendly” material proves that they have a different audience with which to communicate. They want to reach slightly older musical theatre fans and are hoping to achieve a high volume of watchers. Though shade-throwers like myself would say NBC’s production value is better, Fox’s Grease Live! beat most of NBC’s productions in volume of viewers.
“…And I’m Just a Little Weak on My Feet”
NBC announced that its next live musical will be Jesus Christ Superstar and it won’t premiere until Easter of 2018! In the meantime, Fox has plans laid out for live productions of A Christmas Story and Rent. Perhaps Fox is headed in the right direction and audiences will be thrilled with the outcome! I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that we get a great depiction that the musical theatre classic deserves.