ABC announced Monday it will air a live hybrid version of “The Little Mermaid,” an anthology series on the civil rights movement as told from a black woman’s point of view and a limited series on the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath.
“The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!” will have live musical performances interwoven into the broadcast of the 1989 film and air on Nov 5.
Auli’i Cravalho, who supplied the voice of the title character in the animated film “Moana,” will star as Ariel and Emmy-nominated actress and Grammy-winning rapper Queen Latifah as the sea witch Ursula.
Grammy-winning reggae musician Shaggy will supply the voice the beloved crustacean, Sebastian.
Additional cast announcements will be made later.
The production will be directed and executive produced by Hamish Hamilton, who has directed the Super Bowl halftime show annually since 2012. It will be performed on a 360-degree theater at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank before a live audience “of active and wonderful fans,” Hamilton said.
“It will be spectacular, unlike anything ever done in this space and on television,” ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said during her network’s presentations at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, which is taking place in Beverly Hills.
Like other recent television musicals, “The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!” will only air live in the Eastern and Central time zones.
The anthology series has the working title, “Women of the Movement.” Its first season will be centered on Mamie Till, who devoted her life to seeking justice in her son Emmett’s name following his lynching in Mississippi in 1955 when he was 14 years old, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.
The planned eight episodes will be written by Marissa Jo Cerar, who has written for the Hulu dystopian drama “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the Netflix teen drama “13 Reasons Why” and 2013-18 ABC Family/Freeform family drama “The Fosters.” Its executive producers include actor Will Smith and the rapper Jay-Z.
“There’s a narrative that’s been built that would show us a true scene … in which Mamie Till and Rosa Parks did meet, and then the idea would be that, the following year, we would tell Rosa Parks’ story and then, the following year, again another, so it will be an annual event,” Burke said.
ABC will air a limited series in 2021 based on “Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11,” by Mitchell Zuckoff on “personal, heroic and untold stories of 9/11,” Burke said.
In other announcements:
— Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will join with legendary producer Norman Lear in additional re-creations of past television series under the “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” banner in the 2019-20 season with a live holiday special event and another in the spring.
Kimmel said he was not able to provide more details because “there are some loose ends we haven’t tied up yet.”
The initial production, “Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s `All in the Family’ and `The Jeffersons,”’ in May was the week’s second most-watched program.
— Kimmel will also join Mark Burnett in producing “Generation Gap,” a comedy game show that groups family members of different generations who must work together to answer questions about each other’s generations.
A sample question for the show provided by ABC was asking an 8-year-old to finish Clint Eastwood’s famous catchphrase from the 1983 film “Sudden Impact,” “Go ahead. Make my BLANK!”
The host will be announced later.
Burnett’s credits include “Survivor,” “The Apprentice” and “The Voice.”
— ABC has ordered additional seasons of its summer dating series, “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise.” “The Bachelorette,” will return for its 16th season and “Bachelor in Paradise,” its seventh.
— ABC will wait until its summer drama series “Grand Hotel” completes its run to decide whether it will return for a second season, Burke said.
“It’s a show we like a lot,” Burke said. “It’s a show that I wish the ratings were a bit stronger.”