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Fox Revs Up a Broadcast Revival of Grease

There are worse things they could do

Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta star in the film Grease Photo by RB/Redferns

On the heels of NBC’s hugely successful revival of The Sound of Music, Fox on Monday announced it is prepping a three-hour live production of the musical Grease.

Fox’s staging of the ‘50s musical will be based on the 1971 Broadway show of the same name. The 1978 theatrical, which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, grossed nearly $400 million worldwide, making it the most profitable movie musical ever.

Grease Live [working title] will be produced by Paramount Television production; the ensemble cast will be announced at a later date. The live broadcast will air in 2015.

While Fox’s favorite son Seth MacFarlane has quite the set of pipes on him, at 40 he’s probably a bit too long in the tooth to play a Rydell High student. The 24-year-old Travolta was already pushing it when he played Danny Zuko in the movie, and Jeff Conaway’s Kenickie was four years older than the once and future Sweathog. (That said, the kids from Glee could be looking for work by the time casting for Grease Live begins in earnest.)

“From Broadway to film, and across generations, Grease is one of the most beloved musical stories ever told—and we can’t wait to bring it to our air in a spectacular live event,” said Shana C. Waterman, svp of event series for Fox. “Its iconic characters and addictive songs make it the perfect fit for Fox, and we’re going to give it the kind of star power and production quality to make every Sandy, Danny, Rizzo and Kenickie out there want to get up and sing along.”

The Grease announcement arrives just five months after NBC drew huge ratings with The Sound of Music Live. The three-hour broadcast delivered 18.6 million total viewers and a 4.6 in the adults 18-49 demo, giving NBC its first definitive Thursday night entertainment win in nearly a decade.

As was the case with the December revival, Fox’s gloss on Grease will be ad-supported. 

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