Live-action musicals are making waves on network television, and ABC is jumping in on the trend. The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! will be a two-hour special that is set to take place on October 3. The version promises to stay true to the animated Disney classic and is set to feature an ensemble of well-known celebrity artists.
ABC to Stage ‘The Little Mermaid Live’ This Fall
NBC pioneered the live television musicals back in 2013 with The Sound of Music. The network then began releasing a series of successful adaptations including Peter Pan, The Wiz, and Hairspray. NBC is currently prepping for the release of Bye Bye Birdie with Jennifer Lopez this December and Jesus Christ Superstar to be released this Easter 2018.
The genre has proven to be more than capable of raking in awards and ratings. The Sound of Music drew a staggering 18.6 million viewers. Grease Live was the network’s next big hit, garnering 12 million viewers and five Emmy Awards. Live musicals have also attracted A-list Hollywood stars like Ariana Grande, Queen Latifah, and Christopher Walken, who have each appeared in various productions.
Not one to be left behind, ABC announced on Tuesday that they will be airing their own live musical as well.The Little Mermaid Live will make history as the network’s first live musical production. Don’t expect them to use the same formula as NBC, though, as they promise that their entry would be a game-changer in the TV musical scene.
“We really wanted to be in the game as well, and we’re Disney and we have this library that has an endless amount of classic musicals that really play to everyone,” Robert Mills, ABC’s head of alternative programming, told Variety. “But that’s a double-edged sword because you are Disney, you have to do it right. You’ve got to do it so you’re honoring the brand. It took time to find the right take on this.”