Here at Brandlive, we love finding that sweet spot of a well-rehearsed, yet completely authentic story – and we’re not the only ones. Nine million viewers settled in Wednesday evening to witness NBC take another whack at a live TV musical, this time being John Waters’ Hairspray. It’s the seventh of its kind produced by NBC or Fox in three years, and people are still tuning in to watch.
However, Hairspray Live was far more than a fictional tale about Tracy Turnblad from Baltimore. It was the true story of a huge production made up of over 600 cast and crew, and the thrills and challenges of broadcasting a live show to millions of people. It was also the story of an incredibly engaged viewership: from the live studio audience on set, to the NBC watch parties around the country, to the viewers at home who took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to compare notes. NBC recognized, like we do at Brandlive, that engaging and interacting with their audience was an integral part of the overall live experience.
Another refreshing element of Hairspray Live was the way in which they embraced the ‘live’ factor. Instead of trying to limit exposure to the crew or hide the imperfections that inevitably come with a real-time performance, the production team chose to celebrate it. And it didn’t seem to matter that the sound, lights and camera work were erratic at one point or another. From the behind-the-scenes looks at the enormous set, to the cast being transported to the next scene via golf carts, NBC wanted to make sure we remembered we were engaged in a live show.
As cheerleaders for all things live, authentic, a little messy and entirely fun, we applaud their approach. Check out a replay of Hairspray Live here!