ABC Gets Into The Live Musical Game With Disney-Themed TV Musical

Victoria Miller

ABC is developing a live musical for television. On the heels of NBC's The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz and Fox's highly successful Grease: Live, ABC finally has a live musical in development, according to Entertainment Weekly.

ABC president Channing Dungey was tight-lipped regarding the details of the alphabet network's long-awaited dive into the TV musical pool, but she told reporters in a press call ahead of the network's upfront presentations that ABC's entry is currently "in development."

"We've definitely been in those conversations and we have some things we're currently in development on," Dungey said. "This is a space that's already become very crowded. When we make our play in that space, we really want to make sure it's the right project for us to be doing and one that really speaks to the heart of who we are at ABC and as a part of the Disney family."

With live-action feature film versions of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins already in the works, it's unlikely that ABC-Disney would go that route for the live TV musical. But Newsies, The Lion King, and Aladdin are currently long-running Broadway hits, so it wouldn't be a shock to see one of them as ABC's final choice. A few years ago, ABC even embraced Newsies when stars from the hit New York stage musical made a cameo on Dancing With the Stars.

In recent years, live TV musicals have been big business, with NBC first stepping into the forum with the Carrie Underwood-led The Sound of Music in 2013. But decades before Carrie spread her wings in that landmark TV musical, Peter Pan flew live on NBC in a major television event 60 years ago. The Peter Pan TV musical first aired live on NBC with stage star Mary Martin in 1956, and it made history as one of the most-watched TV events of the time. It went on to become an annual event for several years.

Take a look at the video below to see Newsies featured on ABC's Dancing with the Stars.