'The Wiz' Producers Reteaming With Choreographer for NBC Dance Drama (Exclusive)

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are reuniting with Fatima Robinson for a semi-autobiographical drama.
  Amanda Edwards/WireImage; Michael Bezjian/WireImage

NBC is staging a The Wiz reunion.

The network has picked up a script from The Wiz executive producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan that's based on the life of the live musical's choreographer, Fatima Robinson, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Inspired by Robinson's life as a dancer-turned-choreographer, the untitled drama is set in Los Angeles with early plans to set it in the 1990s, as dance begins to dominate pop culture on the streets and clubs that gave birth to hip-hop dance.

The project is in the early stages of development; a writer is not yet attached to the Universal Television drama. Zadan and Meron will executive produce alongside their Storyline Entertainment banner's Mark Nicholson and Tasha Brown, with the latter duo set to produce. Robinson will exec produce and serve as choreographer.

The deal stems from Zadan and Meron's overall pact with Universal Television for live events, network, cable and unscripted series. (The duo are based at Sony Pictures Television for TV movies and miniseries.)

Robinson's choreography credits include features Dreamgirls, Ali, Collateral, Miami Vice and Public Enemies. She's also one of the top performance producers for NBC's The Voice. Her work has been seen on Oscar telecasts, the Super Bowl, Grammys and music videos for performers including Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, Black-Eyed Peas, Sade and Brittany Spears. She's repped by Bloc Talent Agency and Del Shaw.

The untitled drama reunites her with Zadan and Meron following their collaboration on the Academy Awards, which producers told THR inspired them to enlist her to help stage NBC's The Wiz.

"We worked with her on the Oscars and knew she was special," Zadan told THR last week when he singled out Robinson's contributions to helping to make the live musical a critical success. "We hired Fatima Robinson, who is not a Broadway choreographer, to do authentic black dancing. She comes from hip-hop and a lot of her point of view on dance is very gritty and authentic and raw." 

During the live performance, it's also worth noting that Ne-Yo's impressive dance move "hit the dab" ranked as the telecast's most-tweeted moment during the song "Slide Some Oil to Me," with 15,218 tweets per minute.

The Wiz, Zadan and Meron's third live musical for NBC, averaged an impressive 3.4 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.5 million total viewers in live same-day returns. That's up from last year's critically panned Peter Pan performance. When factoring in three days of delayed viewing, The Wiz grew 19 percent 4.02 million in the demo and 13.4 million total viewers.

The Robinson drama marks Zadan and Meron's latest sale this development season. The duo are teaming with Parenthood's Jason Katims for a funeral home musical soap set at NBC.

Zadan and Meron (NBC's Smash) are repped by CAA and Morris Yorn.

The Robinson drama marks the latest dance entry this development season. The CW is also re-teaming with The Vampire Diaries star/former dancer Kat Graham for drama From the Top.

NBC, meanwhile, continues to revisit musical dramas this development season. In addition to the Zadan/Meron/Katims entry and Robinson drama, the network is prepping Voice of the City, a period musical drama from Bruce Cohen (American Beauty).

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