Last December, NBC did something no TV network had done in nearly 50 years: televise a live musical. “The Sound of Music LIVE!”, a three-hour, stage production starring country singer Carrie Underwood as Maria Von Trapp, drew nearly 19 million viewers. So The Peacock has decided to take a calculated risk and air another one.
“Peter Pan LIVE!” will fly into homes this Thursday night. Allison Williams, the daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, and co-star of HBO’s “Girls”, plays Peter. It’s an interesting choice, but if the show is a success, this role will likely propel Williams’ career to new heights. In the one-hour “Making of” special that aired last week, Williams seems confident with her lines and working with the other actors, many of which, of course, are children. But it’s the actual flying that’s got her and likely everyone else most concerned. Any above-ground mistake could be serious and will make instant headlines.
Since every Peter needs a Hook, this is where Oscar-winner Christopher Walken comes-in. Yes, the sly, 71-year-old is going to sing and dance and over-act as the larger-than-life one-handed pirate. For me, this is the most interesting thing about the show, because you never know what Walken might do, especially if something goes wrong. Personally, I’d love to see Walken (as Hook) tell his crewman during one of the songs “Fellas, we need a little more cowbell”. Hey, this is an NBC production!
I’m predicting “Peter Pan LIVE!” will not do as well ratings-wise as “The Sound of Music LIVE!” Many viewers will likely check in and out, like I did last year, listen to a song or two, watch some flying, and then move on with the evening. Of course, NBC is hoping for another smash hit. And they’ve already got “The Music Man LIVE!” (including 76 trombones) lined-up for next year.