Stevie Wonder to Produce Underground Railroad Miniseries, Musical
Suddenly, Stevie Wonder has become a hot commodity on primetime television. With CBS planning to air its Wonder tribute Songs in the Key of Life – An All-Star Grammy Salute on February 16th, NBC Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt revealed the network’s own plans for a project spearheaded by Wonder: A miniseries and Broadway musical based on the Underground Railroad.
As of now, Wonder has only signed on to executive produce the miniseries and musical, tentatively titled Freedom Run, but Greenblatt told the Television Critics Association panel he was hopeful that the Motown legend will eventually work on the score as well. The miniseries would mark the first time Wonder produced a TV project that didn’t star the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer himself.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the eight-hour miniseries will be based on Betty DeRamus’ book Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories From the Underground Railroad. The miniseries will revolve around the stories of three real-life couples that endured the hardships of slavery and took part in the historic mass escapes.
“We’re increasingly looking for projects that qualify as television events and these harrowing true stories of courageous young men and women who found love, in spite of the heinousness of slavery, certainly does that,” Greenblatt told the TCA panel. “Furthermore, the idea of also developing this into a Broadway musical with Stevie Wonder is very exciting as we look to expand the scope of our live stage business. We’re thrilled that these producers wanted to bring this important project to us.”
Additionally, NBC revealed that their next live musical, in the spirit of the Carrie Underwood-starring The Sound of Music and their recent Peter Pan, will be either The Wiz or The Music Man, Entertainment Weekly writes.