It’s beginning to look a lot like A Christmas Story Live! will air what Fox says is the first live TV commercial for a feature film — and in fact, it will. The network said today that the spot for The Greatest Showman will run during Sunday’s live production of the Broadway musical.
Fox also said that its three-hour show will open with “Count on Christmas,” a new original song written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and to be performed by Bebe Rexha. The Dear Evan Hansen Tony winners and Best Song Oscar-winning La La Land lyricists also composed the A Christmas Story: The Musical for Broadway.
Fox and its theatrical sibling 20th Century Fox are teaming for the 2 1/2-minute live Greatest Showman trailer in a new twist on efforts to get viewers to watch commercials. The network said it will feature a 360-degree shoot and more than 150 dancers and that filming will take place adjacent to the A Christmas Story Live! stages at the Warner Bros Studios in Burbank.
“As we continue to drive innovation in both our programming and ad products, we are thrilled to be working in partnership with our sister film studio in this exciting live holiday event,” said Suzanne Sullivan, EVP Entertainment Ad Sales at Fox Networks Group. “We can’t wait to watch as Hugh, Zac [Efron], Zendaya and Keala [Settle] make history and unwrap the first-ever live theatrical commercial on Fox’s air.”
Added Michelle Marks, SVP Marketing and Global Media Promotions at 20th Century Fox Film: “This first-ever live commercial for a feature film is one that P.T. Barnum would be proud of and one that I hope paves the way for future titles.”
Based on the 2012 Broadway production, the three-hour A Christmas Story Live! stars Maya Rudolph, Matthew Broderick, Jane Krakowski, Chris Diamantopoulos, Ken Jeong, David Alan Grier, Ana Gasteyer and newcomer Andy Walken as Ralphie. It will air live in the East this Sunday from 7-10 PM and tape delayed in the West. The production hails from Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television.