The Wiz Live! premieres this week and though NBC’s other live broadcasts have been problematic, the buzz is all about this production. In the past, the live productions haven’t translated well to TV screens. However, that may a problem of the past that will not be revisited with The Wiz. By all indications it seems producers have takens the elements of the live stage play and blended those with the cinematography of the film version starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Since the latter is a constant fixture on black television, it is easier to gauge certain visuals on smaller screens and weed out less desirable images. Coupled with an uncompromising cast of stars, reminiscent of the 1978 film’s star power, The Wiz Live! will almost undoubtedly translate far better than some anticipate.
However, it is not entirely free from the shade of competition. There is always one, my friends. There is always one. Fox, has decided to enter the picture this week only to remind us that except on Wednesdays, when Empire is still on, they somehow still exist. How do they counter the blackest of all live 1970’s musicals to be recreated on television, by announcing the whitest of all 1970’s live musicals to be recreated on television the same week the former premieres. Why? Just remember that Fox still owns FOX News. Fox has released their “first look” at Grease Live! Coming in January, Grease stars Dancing With The Stars alum, Julianne Hough as Sandy and Aaron Tveit as Danny. Hough’s acting is, “meh,” and her signing is below subpar. I had to Google Tveit only to find he’s been in in nothing significant enough to make Fox use him as a lure from the attention being rightfully earned by The Wiz. To add further insult to injury, the supporting cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Carlos PenaVega, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Keke Palmer (for shame).
No. This isn’t for shiggles. Fox was dead serious!
NBC is serving up major celebrity realness with Queen Latifah, Common, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo and the original Dorothy, Stephanie Mills among other big stars in their live version while Fox gives the equivalent of weak tea.
Meanwhile, the folks over at Gossip & Gab are pretty excited about this little high school musical (pun intended!) and you can read their musings here. I no longer can with this story, it’s too much even for me. It’s an abomination, and frankly a bit disrespectful. But, hey, time will tell. Grease Live! airs January 31 on Fox. The Wiz Live! airs this week, December 3rd on NBC.