'The Wiz': Hollywood Praises Diverse Cast, Ends "Hate-Watching" NBC Ritual (For Now)

THE WIZ LIVE! - H 2015
Courtesy of NBC

The Wiz Live! took over NBC — and Twitter — on Thursday night, free of the usual snark that sprouted alongside the network's previous two live musical efforts.

The network's three-hour version of the beloved 1975 Broadway production put an updated spin on The Wizard of Oz while maintaining an African-American cast, including Ne-Yo, Common, Mary J. Blige, Amber Riley, Uzo Aduba, Elijah Kelley, David Alan Grier and Stephanie Mills (who originally played Dorothy onstage), with newcomer Shanice Williams as Dorothy.

The Kenny Leon-directed telecast — which averaged 3.3 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.1 million viewers, up from last year's Peter Pan outing — was praised by Hollywood for its effort to prioritize diversity in representation, especially for such an anticipated event. 

Additionally, The Wiz seemed to put an end to the "hate-watching" ritual that dominated the conversation around 2013's The Sound of Music and 2014's Peter Pan, as a handful of Hollywood tweeters admitted defeat in attempting to be cynical and poked fun at the previous two productions.