Can Matt Lauer or Natalie Morales handle a Broadway-style solo?
In a move that appears to fill the appetite for live broadcasts of Broadway-like showstoppers, NBC’s “Today” intends to air an 18-minute-long musical penned by Kathie Lee Gifford, the co-host of the show’s fourth hour at 10 a.m. Gifford said the musical will use staff from “Today” and will feature Regis Philbin as a guest star. The show is expected to run sometime before the end of the year.
The title? “”Not Today and Tomorrow’s Not Looking Good Either.” Could it allude to the venerable NBC morning program’s struggle to take back the morning-show ratings crown from ABC’s “Good Morning America”?
There was no immediate word from NBC News, which oversees the program, as to whether the musical would air with or without commercial interruption and which members of the “Today” staff would take part.
Speaking on today’s 10 a.m. broadcast, Gifford said “Today” producers approached her in January about tackling the effort. “I said, ‘What!? It’s going to be a disaster.’ They said, ‘That’s why we want you!’ I have a little experience in disasters on Broadway.”
Gifford wrote the words and music for “Scandalous,” a musical that opened on Broadway in November of 2012, but closed in early December of that year. She has also long burnished a musical career, releasing several albums.
“It’s going to be live, and it’s going to be so much fun,” she told Philbin, who was filling in for regular co-host Hoda Kotb.
NBC tested the market for such stuff last year when it broadcast a live version of “The Sound of Music,” featuring Carrie Underwood. This year, the network intends to air a version of “Peter Pan,” featuring Allison Williams in the title role and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook. The network also has plans to produce “The Music Man,” while rival Fox has announced its intention to produce a live version of “Grease.”