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The Music Man will be NBC's next live musical

NBC’s got trouble! (Oh, the network’s got trouble!) Right here in River City! (Right here in River City!) With a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for problems attracting viewers with their original programming! (Original programming!) Fortunately, it has a solution, which is to follow up on one of their few unabashed successes of lat— the Carrie Underwood-starring Sound Of Music live broadcast—and will keep doing musicals until people get tired of them.

Next on the docket: The Music Man, Meredith Wilson’s musical about a con artist who tries the oldest trick in the book, selling band instruments, until his plans go awry, after he falls for the local librarian. Before the librarian got involved, presumably the plan was to sell instruments to the kids, then set up a pyramid scheme where the kids sell overpriced candy bars to everyone they know, then pester people out in front of the supermarket. Instead, Phase Two of the plan involves romance, songs, and between 70 and 85 trombones; as of press time, we don’t have a precise number.

The best-known adaptation of the musical is the 1962 film with Robert Preston and Shirley Jones (with terrific supporting turns from Buddy Hackett and a very young Ron Howard). But The Music Man last graced the small screen in 2003, with a Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth-starring version airing under ABC’s Wonderful World Of Disney banner. No word yet as to which second-tier Top 40 singer or American Idol runner-up will be starring in this latest version, so begin the half-hearted speculation… now!

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