ABC is reviving its dormant The Wonderful World of Disney brand and getting into the hot live-musical space at the same time. The network announced its fall schedule this morning which included this nugget: a two-hour special event, The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live!, on October 3 that will meld Disney’s animated classic The Little Mermaid with live musical performances in a live action/animation hybrid presentation.
The special, The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live!, will feature soon-to-be-unveiled “celebrity artists” to perform Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs from the 1989 film (the pair won two Oscars, for score and the song “Under The Sea,” and were nominated for “Kiss the Girl”). Little else is known, other than that they’re weaving together live and animated elements. Done + Dusted is producing the special, with Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart, David Jammy, Katy Mullan and Richard Kraft of Kraft-Engel Productions executive producing.
Other broadcast networks have been using Upfronts Week announced their latest entries into the genre that NBC first re-introduced in 2013 with The Sound Of Music Live! NBC is prepping Jesus Christ Superstar for Easter 2018. Fox plans a A Christmas Story, based on the Tony-nominated musical and the 1983 hit movie, for December, as well as an adaptation of Rent. Both come via Marc Platt who has been in the middle of many of these live musicals including Grease Live!
In August, Deadline broke the news that Disney is pairing Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda with Menken for a live-action feature adaptation of The Little Mermaid, with the two writing the songs together and Platt producing with Miranda. It’s Disney’s latest move to reinvent its classic titles into live-action movies (ie, The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Maleficent).
ABC also announced another special today, Rolling Stone 50, a live three-hour broadcast February 7, 2018 that will showcase live performances, short films, iconic on-stage moments, never-before-seen musical pairings, and celebrities that have shaped pop culture, music and politics over 50 years through the magazine. It’s also from Done + Dusted.