'Peter Pan' flies through flak
So, how did Peter Pan Live! do?
As you'll recall, NBC's hallowed stage show, made famous in live-on-TV performances by Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook, was resurrected Thursday, with Allison Williams (Girls) beltin' it out as Peter, Christopher Walken as a tottering, apparently Xanax'ed Captain, and Minnie Driver as the adult Wendy.
There was a lot of pressure. NBC presented this show thrice live, in 1955, 1956, and 1960. That last one became a mainstay for NBC through the years. For two generations, Martin and Ritchard were branded into memory.
Thursday's show got pretty good reviews. Williams can sure sing, and Walken is, well, he's really, really weird and still a pretty good dancer. There was a certain stiffness, partly because, at three hours, it was too long and too late, for weeknight adults and kiddies alike. And the too-frequent commercials absolutely wrecked any momentum or continuity, or, to be honest, magic aura the show might generate.
And this Peter was not the eyeballs bonanza that last year's surprise hit, The Sound of Music Live!, starring brave Carrie Underwood as Maria, was. Peter got about 9.1 million viewers, which is OK but isn't even half of the 18.6 million Sound of Music got. (And the first Peter, way back in 1955, got 65 million.) Peter did beat Sound in number of tweets (475,000 to 450,000), as plenty of viewers live-tweeted their reactions, many of them unkind. The Inquirer's David Hiltbrand tweeted, "Neverland? Looks like Legoland," and "What are you thinking for next year's 'holiday tradition'? Godspell? Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? Spamalot?" David also hilariously tweeted that Walken-as-Hook reminded him of Warner Oland, the Swedish actor who played Charlie Chan back in the 1930s. And he's right! Kevin Fallon of Daily Beast headlined his review this way: "No Amount of Clapping Brings It to Life." Ouch.
It was a good try, and NBC and other networks and channels are reported to be interested in more live shows. Between abundant ad revenue and DVD and download, Peter is likely to make money. Live shows may be an old idea whose time has come back.
Crowley leaves CNN
Candy Crowley has, somewhat abruptly, decided to leave CNN after 27 years there. She was CNN's chief political correspondent and host of the Sunday show State of the Union. CNN boss Jeff Zucker announced it by e-mail.