Carrie Underwood signs an autograph for a fan backstage before her concert… (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles…)
If you've been wondering how Carrie Underwood looks in a nun's habit, you'll find out soon enough: The "American Idol" winner, Grammy winner and country superstar has been cast as Maria von Trapp in NBC's upcoming live broadcast of "The Sound of Music," the network announced.
"Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn't be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp," said NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt in a news release.
For young ones unfamiliar with the Oscar-winning film starring Julie Andrews or the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical on which it was based, "The Sound of Music" tells the tale of Maria, a young woman in pre-World War II Austria who leaves a convent to work as a governess for the family of a stern widower.
Though some die-hard fans of the original might be skeptical about Underwood's involvement, Ted Chapin, president of Rodgers & Hammerstein, praised the decision to cast her as "exciting beyond words."
NBC is partnering with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, producers of "Smash" and the upcoming Oscars telecast, on the project. "The Sound of Music" will air during the holiday season in 2013.
Nick plans 'iCarly' spinoff
Fans of "iCarly," dab those tears. A week after the hit Nickelodeon show wrapped its run, the network has announced the series pickup of "iCarly"/"Victorious" offshoot "Sam & Cat."
The spinoff comedy, which was given a 20-episode order, features Jennette McCurdy ("iCarly's" Sam Puckett) and Ariana Grande ("Victorious'" Cat Valentine). They will reprise those roles as roommates who start their own baby-sitting business.
The news comes after Nov. 23's "iCarly" series finale, which drew 6.4 million viewers. "Victorious" is set to end its three-season run next year.
NBC moves 'Brian Williams'
NBC has moved its struggling news program "Rock Center With Brian Williams" to make way for new midseason drama "Do No Harm" — and has given Tina Fey's "30 Rock" an end date too.
"Do No Harm," about a neurosurgeon with a dangerous alter ego, will take up the 10 p.m. Thursday slot beginning Jan. 31. Its premiere will follow the hourlong series finale of Fey's long-running "30 Rock."
"Jan. 31 will be a special night as one classic series will mark its finale with a great hourlong sendoff episode while a promising new drama will make its debut on Thursdays," said NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt in a statement. "'30 Rock' is acclaimed as a legendary comedy, and we will see a truly memorable and fitting last episode."
As a result "Rock Center With Brian Williams" is on the move. Starting Feb. 8, it will air Fridays at 10 p.m.
Brand to take 'Eclectic' spot?
Santa Monica's KCRW-FM (89.9) has already made it clear that the station would like to welcome former KPCC-FM (89.3) morning host Madeleine Brand to its team. But would the station be willing to move its signature show "Morning Becomes Eclectic" to do so?
In the latest article about Brand's sudden departure from KPCC, Los Angeles Magazine notes that the popular radio personality is in discussions with KCRW for a morning show that would air at 9 a.m. That's the current home of "Morning Becomes Eclectic," KCRW's nationally recognized three-hour music show hosted by Jason Bentley.
KCRW General Manager Jennifer Ferro previously told The Times that bringing Brand to the station is something they were going to "try to make" happen. But what any potential deal may mean for "Morning Becomes Eclectic" appears to be up in the air. Ferro, in an emailed statement, said it was too soon to speculate.
Metallica forms its own label
Metallica has gone indie. The band announced Friday that it has officially left its longtime home, the Warner Music Group, taken its master recordings and formed a new independent label, Blackened Recordings. All forthcoming Metallica projects will come out via Blackened.
The timing of the announcement is notable. Under an agreement that Metallica signed in 1994, when the band was at the peak of its commercial powers, the band negotiated that ownership of all of its master recordings would revert to them on Nov. 30, 2012. That day has come.
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