In its pursuit of audience-grabbing event programming, NBC is said to be eyeing a live staging of Aaron Sorkin’s play “A Few Good Men.”
The Peacock is in the early stages of working out an agreement with Sorkin to mount a live telecast of the play that put him on the map as a writer when it hit Broadway in 1989. The 1992 feature starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore was a hit for TriStar Pictures.
The story revolves around the court-martial case against two Marines accused of killing another serviceman. The film helmed by Rob Reiner earned four Oscar nominations, including best picture and supporting actor for Nicholson.
Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are involved with the NBC effort, as is Sony’s TV division. The idea is that Sorkin would do another pass on the play to tailor it for the TV staging. It’s understood that Zadan and Meron suggested the possibility of doing “Few Good Men” to NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt, who got the ball rolling over the summer with Sorkin. The sides are still hammering out the basic details so there’s no word yet on casting or a director or a target premiere date.
The interest in “Few Good Men” is a sign that NBC is looking at properties beyond musicals for live events that have the potential to draw big crowds — and premium advertising dollars.
Zadan and Meron were the producers behind the Peacock’s stunning success last year with “The Sound of Music Live,” and the pair are shepherding this year’s tuner, “Peter Pan,” set to air Dec. 4.
Sony TV is involved through its association with Zadan and Meron and also because it has certain rights to “Few Good Men” stemming from the original feature deal. Sorkin sold the film rights to the play even before it became a hit on the Main Stem.
Feature-length live dramas were a staple of television in the 1950s and ’60s. The most recent effort was the staging of Cold War thriller “Fail Safe” for CBS in April 2000 that was driven by star George Clooney’s enthusiasm for an ambitious live experiment. “Fail Safe,” which was directed by Stephen Frears, marked the first such telecast on network TV in 39 years.