Not only is ABC reviving its dormant The Wonderful World of Disney brand, but they are stepping into the live-musical trends as well. The network released the fall schedule earlier, which included a two-hour special event – The Wonderful World Of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! On October 3, 2017, this live action/animation hybrid will combine Disney’s animated classic The Little Mermaid with live musical performances.
The special will feature celebrity artists to perform Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs from the 1989 film. Not much else is known, other than that they’re weaving together live and animated elements. Done + Dusted will be producing the special, with Hamish Hamilton, Ian Stewart, David Jammy, Katy Mullan and Richard Kraft of Kraft-Engel Productions executive producing.
NBC reintroduced the genre back in 2013 with The Sound of Music Live!, and is currently prepping Jesus Christ Superstar for Easter 2018. Fox also has plans for A Christmas Story, based on the Tony-nominated musical and hit movie, for December, as well as an adaptation of Rent. Both productions come via Marc Platt who has assisted many of these live musicals, including Grease Live!.
Previously, it was announced that Disney was pairing Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda with Menken for a live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Both Menken and Miranda are writing the songs together, in addition to Miranda serving as a producer with Platt. This is Disney’s latest move to reinvent its classic titles following Maleficent, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast.
ABC also announced another special today, Rolling Stone 50, arriving on February 7, 2018. This live three-hour broadcast will feature live performances, short films, on-stage moments, never-before-seen musical pairings, and celebrities that have shaped pop culture. This is also produced by Done + Dusted.