Fox has jumped into the live musical business with Grease Live, a three-hour production of the popular musical to air live next year. The project, which drew interest from multiple networks, comes from Paramount Television and marks the first official network green light for the recently relaunched TV division of the movie studio that was behind the blockbuster 1978 feature adaptation of Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Live musicals have become a hot TV commodity following the huge success of NBC’s staging of The Sound Of Music. NBC will follow it up with a live production of Peter Pan this year.
The 1971 Broadway musical was written by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs, with its feature adaptation grossing nearly $400 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing movie musical ever. Fox’s staging will feature a young ensemble cast, the Casey/Jacobs songs “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’” and “We Go Together”; as well John Farrar’s “Hopelessly Devoted To You” and ”You’re The One That I Want.” “Greese‘s iconic characters and addictive songs make it the perfect fit for Fox, and we’re going to give it the kind of star power and production quality to make every Sandy, Danny, Rizzo and Kenickie out there want to get up and sing along,” said Shana C. Waterman, Fox’s SVP Event Series. Added Paramount TV president Amy Powell, “It’s incredibly exciting to have one of our first major network productions be based on this universally celebrated Paramount title.”
Paramount TV’s inaugural development slate includes other projects based on movie titles in the Paramount library, including a crime drama with roots in Joe Carnahan’s Narc, with Carnahan writing and directing the pilot, and a re-imagination of the Jim Carrey hit The Truman Show. Additionally, Paramount has boarded the Terminator TV series, joining Skydance Television and also has in the works an adaptation of hit feature Ghost with filmmakers Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner.