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NBC’s ‘Hairspray Live’ to Air Dec. 7

Hairspray Live, representing NBC’s fourth consecutive annual live stage musical, will air Dec. 7, and reunites much of the braintrust from the network’s previous productions, including producing pair Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

“In keeping with our desire to bring the best of Broadway to our live musicals, we’ve assembled the Broadway dream team of Tony Award winners for Hairspray Live,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment. “We’re thrilled to have director Kenny Leon, who knocked The Wiz Live way out of the park, and Jerry Mitchell, the original choreographer of Hairspray and who is the director of two smash hit musicals running on Broadway right now."

“We also have one of the most celebrated Broadway hyphenates, Harvey Fierstein, back writing the adaptation for TV,” he continued. “No one knows Hairspray better than him since he played the role of Edna Turnblad more than a thousand times and won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Along with our incredible producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and arguably the best songwriting team in musicals, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, ‘Hairspray Live’ is in the best possible hands.”

Zadan and Meron produced all three of NBC’s December musicals—The Sound of Music Live, Peter Pan Live and The Wiz Live. Last year the pair produced the Oscars telecast, Zadan and Meron’s third consecutive one.

The cast will be announced at a later date.

The combination of the right show and a live production can elicit substantial viewer numbers. The Wiz Live drew 11.5 million total viewers in live plus same day. Fox’s live Grease production Jan. 31 had over 12 million viewers.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.