NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt on Friday also announced plans to develop an eight-hour miniseries, “Freedom Run,” revolving around the Underground Railroad. At the same time, NBC and Universal’s legit arm, which Greenblatt oversees, are working on a Broadway musical adaptation of “Freedom Run” with Stevie Wonder working on the score.
“Freedom Run” is based on the book “Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad” by Betty DeRamus. Producers B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook and Charles Randolph-Wright brought the project to NBC with the idea of doing a dramatic miniseries and a Broadway music adaptation with Wonder penning the tunes. Swibel, Westbrook and Randolph-Wright will exec produce with Tara Smith, Brian LaRoda and Wonder.
Greenblatt also disclosed that NBC has licensed the rights to musical “The Wiz” as a prospect for this year’s annual live tuner, following 2013’s “Sound of Music” and last year’s “Peter Pan.” Greenblatt said the 2015 entry will either be “Wiz” or “Music Man.”
NBC also has a development deal with Dolly Parton, Sam Haskell’s Magnolia Entertainment and Warner Bros. TV to work up a series of TV movies based on her large catalog of songs. The telepics will not be tuners per se but will feature Parton songs. Parton previously worked with Greenblatt when he produced the Broadway rendition of “9 to 5.”
Greenblatt also confirmed the Peacock has a series deal with Eva Longoria to star in and produce a half-hour comedy set behind the scenes of a telenovela.
The “Freedom Run” stage musical is being developed by Smith’s Triptyk Studios, LaRoda and Universal Stage Prods. (“Wicked”), with Wonder writing the score and Swibel, Westbrook and Randolph-Wright penning the book.
More to come