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

Tyler Perry thanked NBC "for the courage to put this on the air," and Anna Kendrick said, "I don't even know how to be snarky about this."
Courtesy of NBC
'The Wiz'

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.