Musical television series have been a risky proposition for years, but the recent ratings success of projects like Fox’s Glee and ABC’s Nashville has certainly made network heads a little more bullish about ordering similar shows. Now, though, ABC is taking the exceptionally bold step on committing to an ambitious musical series that, if successful, will pave the way for even more small screen singing and dancing. Reteaming with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, the network is eyeing a modern adaptation of Phantom of the Opera.
Similar to ABC’s Nashville, the “contemporary” adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s classic gothic novel will arrive as a drama with musical elements. Set in “the sexy and cutthroat world of the modern-day music business,” the hour long scripted series will include a script by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (Secondhand Lions, 17 Again).
The last time that Phantom of the Opera, an often-adapted work, came to television was in 1990 for a two-part miniseries. That adaptation was a success, garnering two technical Emmys and receiving a Golden Globe nom. The most recent film version, directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, bowed in 2004 to reviews that bashed its direction and writing but praised its visuals and acting.
Whether ABC and Cherry’s new Phantom of the Opera will be met with success or failure is anyone’s guess, but the adaptation will be just one of many musical series vying for viewers’ attention in coming months. Nashville is still holding steady in its third season, and ABC has musical fairy tale Galavant arriving at some point midseason. Fox, meanwhile, is ending Glee soon but will introduce Lee Daniels’ hip-hop drama Empire as it sees off that creatively drained series. NBC, meanwhile, took a shot at musical drama with the Broadway-set Smash, which lasted for two seasons, and is putting on a live performance of Peter Pan in December to follow its smash-hit Sound of Music production.
Tell us, are you interested in a new Phantom of the Opera take?