NBC Announces Peter Pan Live!, New Wizard of Oz-Themed Series -- Plus: Katherine Heigl CIA Drama Pilot Gets a Green Light

Peter Pan NBC LiveNBC has settled on its next musical event — Peter Pan Live!

The network announced Sunday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour that its follow-up to last December’s surprise smash The Sound of Music Live! will be an adaptation of James M. Barrie’s high-flying classic.

“Get ready for flying children,” said NBC prez Robert Greenblatt of the project, which will air on Dec. 4 and once again be exec-produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Maron. Casting is TBD, though Greenblatt at least ruled out Justin Bieber and indicated the title role would be played by a male.

NBC has also ordered Emerald City, a modern 10-episode re-imagining of the classic Frank L. Baum books that inspired everything from The Wizard Of Oz to Wicked. Official logline: “A head-strong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on an eye-opening journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.”

Other notable takeaways from NBC’s exec session:

* The network has handed a pilot order to State of Affairs, a potential drama series starring former Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl as a CIA analyst.

* On the future of Celebrity Apprentice: “We’re going to shoot it in the spring and it will be available as an option to us in the fall,” confirmed the network’s reality guru, Paul Telegdy.

* Also in NBC’s pipeline: The eight-episode limited series The Slap. The project, based on the Australian series of the same name, is a “complex family drama that explodes from one small incident where a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child.” Brothers & Sisters‘ Jon Robin Baitz is the writer.

* We’re “really unhappy” we can’t find an audience for Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show,” lamented Greenblatt. “It’s been an uphill battle.”

* Billy Crystal, who was Jay Leno’s first-ever Tonight Show guest, will pay him a visit on his final night on Feb. 6.

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62 Comments
  1. leigh says:

    Could be good. Could be bad. I hope they improve upon the issues with the last live event.

    • Tom Crisp says:

      I want to see one of the young former Billy Elliots or another lad from the theater. Discover a star, NBC, don’t go searching the pop charts and boy bands. Or maybe from TV? Nolan Gould (Luke on MODERN FAMILY) might be good. But it asks a lot of a teenager to carry the weight of the show – hence the traditional casting of women in the role of Peter, all the way back to Maude Adams in 1905, to Jean Arthur, to Mary Martin, to Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby.

      • Ben says:

        I understand why you are asking that, but… I dare say, from NBC’s perspective, that the name “Carrie Underwood” brought in a lot of people.

    • Betty Romano says:

      What could ever compare to Mary Martin’s version of oh so many years ago! We watched as a family and my kids always called it “The REAL Peter Pan” (not the cartoon character). Hope they don’t botch it up in the re-do.

  2. Again???

    We’ve already had two versions of this with Mary Martin and one with Cathy Rigby and they were all televised. Well, let’s hope they don’t use Rigby again, because she’s beginning to show her age.

    • scooby says:

      Kristin Chenoweth. Broadway diva, tiny, Emmy winner known to a young audience either through Glee or Wicked. Perfect. The only catch might be flying around on a wire. She’s got an inner ear situation so you wouldn’t want your lead getting vertigo in the middle of the production.

      • Erika says:

        She’s also a soprano. The Peter Pan part is a mezzo part. That’s not a deal breaker… but it might require some changes to the score (key changes, etc).
        additionally, she’s also starting to show her age and they’d be better off going younger. I do wish they would stick to a female performer… for tradition if nothing else.

      • jacqueline says:

        THAT IS WONDERFUL TO HAVE PETER PAN RETURN TO TV=—I WOULD JUST AS WELL BE HAPPY TO SEE THE MARY MARTIN PETER PAN OR EVEN CATHY RIGBY, SHE WAS GREAT LIVE……………………….JACQUIE

  3. Lucy says:

    Oh, lord, is it going to be the Mary Martin version? I have childhood memories/nightmares of my sister leaping off of furniture, arms spread, after seeing it. Four dozen times.

  4. didi says:

    This will be amazing! Please just no Carrie Underwood as Wendy. We don’t need stunt casting.

  5. Amanda says:

    I think Nbc Is trying to make Mary Martin roll over in her grave again..

  6. Kaycee says:

    Good news for Emerald City and despite Heigl’s drama I still think she’s talented and can make a great TV comeback. Say what you want about her romcoms but she was very very impressive on Greys -Anatomy

    • dude says:

      She won the Emmy for a reason. Love her. She was great on Roswell too.

    • abz says:

      I agree. I still love her and she was one of the highlights of the first few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t think the show would have been as big of a hit without her. I will definitely check out her new show.

    • Mary S says:

      Wasn’t Heigl on the list of actors NOBODY wants to work with?? It will be interesting to see how long the show lasts if nobody can get along with the star of the show…
      I remember being panic-struck when Shannen Doherty left Charmed – I never knew why, but read that she couldn’t get along with others on the show… I’d hate to get wrapped up in a show that is doomed to failure due to her inability to “Play nice” with all the other boys and girls!

  7. Tran 2.0 says:

    Let’s hope NBC’s next live musical event doesn’t “walked the plank”.

  8. Esaul says:

    “NBC has also ordered Emerald City, a 10-episode Oz-themed event series that is being billed as Wizard of Oz meets Game of Thrones.” – Yawn.

  9. Someone says:

    Nothing about Days of Our Lives? I’m hoping they renew it for another few years, or at least one year so they can start planning their 50th anniversary next year.

    • alistaircrane says:

      I used to love Days, but I will never forgive them for firing my faves in 2012: Carrie, Austin, and Jack. In 2011, I had FINALLY come back to watching Days for the first time in 5 years (incidentally since Carrie, Austin and Jack were fired in 2006), then they went and fired the main reasons I started watching again! Part of me wants the show cancelled, but the other part wants the show renewed with new headwriters and my faves coming back to the show.

    • alistaircrane says:

      Days would have to be renewed for two years (through September 2016) in order to celebrate 50 years in November 2015. If it’s renewed, I hope they have a new head writing team in place and bring back Carrie, Austin, Jack, Billie, Patch and Kristen/Susan.

  10. Maryann says:

    I am very glad to hear that NBC will be casting a male for the live version of Peter Pan. And I definitely second that it should be a relative unknown from theater rather than a celebrity singer who can’t act. Someone like the actor who played Peter on OUAT for example, given he could sing. He definitely has the screen presence and acting ability. I couldn’t stand him on Once, but he would be perfect for this.

    • alistaircrane says:

      Why are you “glad” to hear they’re casting a guy? Obviously you’re uncomfortable with women dressing like men. Transphobe!

      • Androme says:

        Okay dude, that came out of nowhere. Did you not read the other comments? There are people who don’t like Peter Pan being played by a woman in the stage play. (or those who don’t like this period.)
        To call someone out for saying they wish Peter Pan was played by a guy instead of a woman is straight up sad. And calling them–whatever the hell that’s supped to mean–is just stupid.

        • dragons3 says:

          Peter Pan has traditionally been played by a woman on stage because of the flying. Men couldn’t handle the pain of the safety harness around the family jewels. Maybe technology has created a harness that eliminates that issue. Time will tell. I’ll be interested in seeing what happens. I love musical theater and don’t get the opportunity to see enough of it..

      • abz says:

        Well that was an unnecessary comment.

    • Mary S says:

      Historically the role has been played by women-see the list in the earlier post- except of course, when Robin Williams starred as Pan in “Hook” – which I dearly loved!– But, yes, I remember seeing Mary Martin on TV in the role when I was a kid. They aired it several years in a row, as I recall. And I always clapped like crazy for Tinkerbell…
      And while this is the era of breaking traditions, I still think that a slender woman would be a good choice. Granted, I have no suggestions, I’m just saying that a woman in the role is traditional and should not be a problem.

  11. Jim says:

    Deadline made it sound like Greenblatt wants Miley Cyrus as Pan. Did I read that right? Was he joking?

  12. Babygate says:

    I hope State of Affairs is good and it gets picked up. The way Katherine left Greys was less than gracious but honestly, she was doing what was the best thing for her and her family. Actors that stay too long on a show can miss out on greater opportunities and then once that show is over they find that they are not as marketable as they thought. Ellen stayed too long and missed out on the chance to have a movie career. Patrick is there for the money but everyone knows he rather be racing. Katie made a business decision. She was excellent as Izzie and I hope this role is a good fit for her.

    • Hannah says:

      Ellen would have never got a movie career, she’s no Jennifer Lawrence, Grey’s is everything she could ever aspire to and she knows it.
      She’s gonna milk that cow till its last breath and collect every check cos’ when it ends her career is over, which is the smartest thing to do business wise (especially since she lives close to the set and can spend time with her family) and I don’ blame her the least for that.

      • abz says:

        While it’s sad because I do like Ellen Pompeo, there really is a bit of truth to what you wrote. I really can’t see her going on to doing anything as successful as Grey’s, but who knows. All the best to her and maybe she’ll surprise us.

  13. J.Norman says:

    Well, It seems to be a fairly safe choice. Peter Pan is a favorite of children (very similar to Sound of Music) and is something the family can sit around and watch together – probably once.

    Nothing wrong with having a family friendly stage production on TV.

  14. ibjbyron says:

    I’m very intrigued by the concept of “The Slap”, and “Brothers and Sisters” was well-written; should be interesting, can’t wait to hear casting news.

  15. Linda says:

    I think one of the Mara sisters could play Peter Pan brilliantly (House of Cards / Girl With The Dragon Tatoo). I’m going to be very upset if ‘Sean Saves The World” (change the name, maybe?) is cancelled due to lack of audience. It’s the only sitcom this season that has made us laugh out loud (like Friends) every time.. except last weeks ‘jump the shark’ moment in the board room!! Please don’t do scenes like that. Don’t take it to that place or you will lose what’s left of your audience. It is basically very smart and good writing. Love the characters and not taking them over the top – though you’ve come close a few times.

    I’m going to watch for The Slap.. sounds intriguing. Not sure about State of Affairs, but will tune in to see.

  16. Timmah says:

    One word: Ugh.

  17. Mika02 says:

    This just sounds like Tin man to me so someone should just do that.

  18. Drew says:

    Peter Pan should be a lot of fun!
    I hope they don’t cast all Broadway people. Part of the fun last time was a one time performance by a cast that was largely made up of people who were kinda new to it all. If you get nothing but people who could do it in their sleep, it isn’t as much fun.
    Call it stunt casting if you want, but I favor the idea of getting singers or actors who aren’t stage vets. I enjoyed the last show a lot and the Broadway vets weren’t the highlight for me. In fact, the guy from Smash was probably the weakest casting, in my opinion.

    • Dan says:

      Really? Most reviews and comments I read praised the Broadway actors (Audra McDonald, Laura Benatti and Christian Borle) while criticizing the acting efforts of Carrie Underwood and Steven Moyer. Carrie’s singing was great, but clearly her acting needed some work. The Broadway vets could act and sing, and were used to the pressure of a live performance. I expect NBC will try to balance Peter Pan with a “big name” surrounded by more actors who can handle the pressure of a live performance.

      • Drew says:

        Borle was the low point for me. He messed up a couple of times and I just didn’t like the way he played the character.
        I’m not claiming that Underwood was the best actress I’ve ever seen, but she wasn’t the worst either. And overall, I think that the “newbie” element added more than it took from the show. Watching an all-star Broadway cast who has done the show a hundred times before and will a hundred times again would have lost some of the spark. It was fun watching the behind the scenes special and then the live show, knowing that it was new to most of these people. I was cheering for them. It was nice.

  19. Dan says:

    I’m not a Peter Pan fan. Didn’t like the animated movie, hated Hook, can’t stand the old live tv version w/Mary Martin, and was disappointed with the professional stage version I saw years ago. Just don’t like the story. I do like the Disney ride! That’s it.

  20. EJ says:

    I think all the boys from One Direction should share the role with Peter “regenerating” in commercial breaks like Doctor Who.

  21. Eddie says:

    anyone else think NPH for Peter Pan?

  22. ana says:

    Chris Colfer would make a great Peter Pan.

    • blee hater says:

      That is what I said the moment I saw the announcement. He has experience with live theater, he can act, he can sing and he looks so young. I think Chris Colfer would be a fabulous choice for Peter Pan.

    • I totally agree with you! Hear that, Michael Ausiello? :) Our favorite boy to be the next Peter Pan. So awesome! Lets address this to Craig Zadan and Neil Maron..
      I really hope Chris Colfer will get to do this.. well i’m not alone! so many people think the same..

  23. queerbec says:

    Harry Styles as Peter. Liam as Nana. The other three as Lost Boys. Jack Black as Hook. Abigail Breslin as Wendy.

  24. dragons3 says:

    Please, NBC, for the love of all that is holy, cast a musical THEATER performer in Peter Pan, and not some flavor of the month pop or country performer. No matter how good they are at singing, it takes ACTING chops to pull of a role like Peter Pan!