ABC has announced the newest musical to receive its live TV debut (after NBC’s The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar, Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grease, and ABC’s best forgotten Dirty Dancing). Interestingly enough, it’s The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! Disney is already remaking the beloved 1989 animated feature as a live-action film starring Halle Bailey (“Grown-ish”). The live version airs Tuesday, Nov. 5, which coincides with the film’s 30th anniversary. Billed as a “special tribute,” the event features live musical performances by a star-studded cast “interwoven into the broadcast of the original feature film.” This “hybrid format” promises to include “intricate sets and costumes.” Auli’i Cravalho, who gave voice to Moana in the Disney animated musical of the same name, stars as Ariel. Queen Latifah is set to play sea witch Ursula and renowned reggae musician Shaggy is our Caribbean crustacean Sebastian.
Jay-Z and Will Smith are among the executive producers behind ABC’s upcoming anthology series “Women of the Movement.” The series is described as a “chronology of the civil rights movement as told from a black woman’s point of view.” The first season centers on Mamie Till, who devoted her life to seeking justice following her son Emmett’s brutal murder in the Jim Crow South. The show’s initial storyline is inspired by Devery S. Anderson’s nonfiction book Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement. The show was in development at HBO for several years before ending up at ABC. No word yet on when the series may air.
Fans of Netflix’s tantalizingly bizarre supernatural sci-fi series “The OA” from creators Brit Marling and Zal Patmanglij (Sound of My Voice, Another Earth, The East) will be disappointed to hear that the show has been canceled. For two seasons Marling has starred as the show’s main character, a blind woman who disappears for seven years and returns with her eyesight restored, claiming she needs help rescuing people lost in another dimension. Evidently, the creators envisioned the show as a five-part series—meaning, of course, that it ended on a number of confusing cliffhangers. Fans had organized an online campaign to save the series, but Netflix pulled the plug after 16 episodes. Seasons 1 and 2 are still available on Netflix. Feel free to make up your own ending.
Amazon is expanding its partnership with Paramount TV. The two are joining forces on a TV series adaptation of Paramount’s 1997 movie Event Horizon. The film was a flop when it came out, but has grown something of a cult audience over the years for its unusual mixture of hard science fiction and supernatural horror. The story concerns a space ship crew sent on a rescue mission after another space ship vanishes and then mysteriously reappears after seven years. Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest, “Death Note”) has been attached as director and executive producer of the series. Paramount already produces “Jack Ryan” for Amazon and is developing a series based on its 1999 sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest.