NBC has decided the world needs another chance to watch the broadcast of its live musical rendition of John Waters’ “Hairspray” right after Christmas.
Next Monday, the network is showing the full recorded musical that brought Tracy Turnblad, Motormouth Maybelle, Corny Collins and others back to life in 2016. NBC’s musical reprisal of the 1988 classic film aired on Dec. 7.
While it met with mixed reviews, the show was plenty of fun and featured stellar performances by Maddie Baillioas as Tracy, Jennifer Hudson as Maybelle, Harvey Fierstein as Tracy’s mother, Edna, and Kristin Chenoweth as Velma Von Tussle. In addition to putting a national spotlight on Baltimore for a positive reason, the segregation-era show was also a great choice for a live show by NBC in a year mired with news of racial tensions from around the country.
Hairspray Live! didn’t do particularly well ratings-wise, but that may have been a problem of timing rather than quality. The New York Times reported NBC normally shows its live productions – see The Wiz, Grease and The Sound of Music, for example – on Thursdays, when more people are likely to be watching. But since the network is showing Thursday Night Football this year, it had to move the show to Wednesday, which could have contributed to its low viewership compared to past productions.
Football may again impact viewership when the telecast airs on Monday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m., since Monday Night Football on FOX begins only a half-hour later. Then again, since it’s not the actual premiere of the live show, NBC may not be expecting tens of millions of people stay on their channel.
In case you can’t flip to NBC at 8 p.m. on Dec. 26, but want more Hairspray Live!, the network has also released the full musical on DVD.
— Hairspray Live! (@HairsprayLive) December 20, 2016