Beverly Hills, Calif. — ABC will offer live musical The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live Nov. 5. Queen Latifah plays Ursula, Shaggy plays Sebastian and Auli'i Cravalho tackles Ariel.
Karey Burke, ABC entertainment president, also announced two limited series that she described as event TV: Women of the Movement, about the civil rights struggle through the eyes of women involved in it, and Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11. Will Smith and Jay Z are producing Women of the Movement.
ABC picked up season 16 of The Bachelorette, “because we’re no dummies,” quipped Burke, speaking at the network's portion of the 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour. She noted that season 15 is up 5% over last year.
Burke took some shots at the streaming competition, stating how broadcast has “big, broad audiences all year long.” She spoke of streaming platforms that “tout shows as hits one day and cancel them the next.”
Broadcast shows, she said, get the full marketing might of the network. Streaming shows, she said, “Sometimes they get a billboard on Sunset, and sometimes they disappear into the sunset.”
Burke did mention the positive attributes of corporate sibling Hulu. “It gives us a bigger audience and it also gives us a younger one,” she said, noting its median age of 33.
Disney also has a Little Mermaid film in the works. Burke said the projects are "quite distinctly different," adding that the TV special is "unlike anything any other network has done" in terms of live musicals.