'Hairspray' set as NBC's next live musical

Hairspray - Trailer No. 1
Hairspray - Trailer No. 1


NBC has set its fourth live musical: Hairspray.

The network used its platform Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour to announce its follow-up to critical success The Wiz and its predecessors, Peter Pan and The Sound of Music.

NBC's go-to duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (who have done all three of its live musical productions) will again serve as executive producers for the musical that will air as a holiday special in December 2016.

The news comes on the heels of December's critical (and ratings) success of The Wiz, which attracted an all-star cast including Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba and Common, among others. The Wiz, which came as broadcast networks have been making a major diversity push and combined that with the live element, topped Peter Pan but fell short of the out-of-the-gate success of its first one out, The Sound of Music.

Read More'The Wiz' Producers on How the Oscars Turned NBC's Live Musical Into a Hit — and Why 'Peter Pan' Was a "Mistake"

Speaking with THR after The Wiz, Zadan and Meron noted that Music Man was contingent on finding the right star, while A Few Good Men was being held up with rights issues. Producers also stressed that unlike Fox's upcoming Grease Live, they have no plans to stage a production with a live studio audience.

"Since we changed the playing field for ourselves this year in the way we did everything -; and the whole technique of doing the show is different -; we set out on a path that has changed the way we do them," Zadan said. "That's going to inform what the next show is going to be. We don't want to go back to the way we did Peter Pan or The Sound of Music; we want to keep moving forward."

Live programming continues to be in high demand as broadcast networks look for ways in which to draw both live viewership in an increasingly competitive DVR landscape as well as star power in a bid to cut through the clutter.

Meron and Zadan previously produced the 2007 feature film adaptation of the musical. The film, which featured John Travolta, Christopher Walken (who also starred in Peter Pan), Zac Efron and then-newcomer Nikki Blonsky, grossed $120 million stateside.

Related: See scenes from The Wiz:

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