NBC's Next Live Musical Is 'The Wiz'

by Raphael Chestang 2:57 PM PDT, March 30, 2015
Photo: Universal

NBC is following the yellow brick road to find their next live musical: The Wiz.

The production will air on Dec. 3 and is being co-produced by Cirque du Soleil's new stage theatrical division. After the project, Cirque will present it as a major Broadway revival for the 2016-17 season.

NEWS: 9 of the Funniest Memes About Peter Pan Live!

"We love this yearly tradition and we're more excited than ever to not only bring another Broadway musical to America's living rooms, but also see it land on Broadway as well," NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said. "It's a natural next step for our live musical events and we're so pleased to be in business with this award-winning creative team and Scott Zeiger, President and Managing Director of Cirque du Soleil's new theatrical division. Cirque's incredible imagination will help bring the fantasy world of Oz vividly to life and give this great show a modern spin on the age-old story we all love."

The network's past live productions have included Peter Pan Live!, which starred Allison Williams, and The Sound of Music Live!, starring Carrie Underwood. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are returning for the third time as executive producers for The Wiz.

NEWS: Go Behind the Scenes of Peter Pan Live! Rehearsals

While neither The Sound of Music nor Peter Pan did exceptionally well with critics, they both enjoyed strong ratings. Peter Pan pulled in 9.21 million viewers last December, while The Sound of Music drew double that in December 2013 with 18.6 million. In May 2014, Greenblatt announced that the network was eyeing a live production of The Music Man. It is unclear when that live broadcast will take place.

The Wiz, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, first debuted in 1974 and was made into a movie starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell and Ted Ross in 1978.

NEWS: The Sound of Music Turns 50!

"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to not only produce this as our next live musical for NBC, but to then see it move to Broadway for a new generation to experience," said Zadan. "It will be a joy to work again with [director] Kenny Leon, who did Steel Magnolias and Raisin in the Sun with us," Meron added.

Watch the video below for a recap of last year's Peter Pan Live!