Broadway and "Smash" Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Sign First-Look Deal With NBC
By Kenneth Jones
Universal Television and NBCUniversal International have signed a development deal with Storyline Entertainment's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of TV's "Smash" and producers of Hollywood's "Chicago" and "Hairspray" and Broadway's Promises, Promises and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
The deal will give the studio a "first look at series and specials created" by the award-winning producers for U.S. and international television markets. The deal was announced July 31 by Bela Bajaria, executive vice president, Universal Television, and Michael Edelstein, president, NBCUniversal International Television Production.
"Universal Television is thrilled to be continuing and expanding our partnership with Craig and Neil," said Bajaria, in a statement. "The incredible creativity, vision and intelligence that they bring to all their projects — on television, in film and on Broadway — is exactly what the future of Universal Television is all about. 'Smash' is only the beginning; we look forward to collaborating with them on many exciting projects going forward."
Edelstein added, "Craig and Neil are two of the best producers in the business, and we are excited to have them developing at NBCU for both the U.S. and International markets. We look forward to bringing their extraordinary ideas to the global television marketplace."
Zadan and Meron said in a statement, "We are so excited to be reunited with our longtime collaborator, Bela Bajaria, and to be creating event television for Universal Television, our home for 'Smash' and the upcoming live broadcast of 'The Sound of Music.' Additionally, developing projects for audiences outside of the US with Michael Edelstein is an exciting new prospect for us."
Based on the Broadway stage musical, "The Sound of Music" is slated as an NBC holiday event; casting is underway, and an air date will be announced in the near future.
Zadan and Meron are the producers of the Lifetime hit series "Drop Dead Diva" and upcoming television movie "Steel Magnolias," starring Queen Latifah. Their films and television movies have garnered six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 11 Emmy Awards, and two Peabody Awards. For their work in television, their productions have earned 73 Emmy nominations. Their work in theatre has received 12 Tony nominations, including two wins. They also have received five Grammy nominations, winning twice.
Their feature film credits include the Oscar winning "Chicago," "The Bucket List," the feature-film musical "Hairspray," and the recently released "Footloose" (the original film, starring Kevin Bacon, was Zadan’s first feature-film production).
Other television event presentations include Meredith Willson's "The Music Man," starring Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth; "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," starring Judy Davis; "Annie" starring Kathy Bates; "Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella," starring Whitney Houston and Brandy; "Gypsy," starring Bette Midler; "A Raisin in the Sun," starring Sean Combs; and NBC's groundbreaking film, "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" starring Glenn Close.
The second season of "Smash," the musical TV drama about the making of a Broadway musical, is currently filming in New York City.
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