Tell me more, tell me more…
According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO Max has given a straight-to-series order to Grease: Rydell High, an upcoming musical television series.
The series will reimagine the original hit classic, set in the 1950s. It will “explore the peer pressures of high school, the horrors of puberty and life in middle America with a modern sensibility,” and through “big musical numbers from the era combined with new original songs”.
The project will be produced by Paramount Television, which also handled the Emmy-winning Grease: Live back in 2016 (which I remember tuning in for at the exact moment the audio stopped working at the dance scene). Additional details are next to none with the search with no writer, episode count, premiere date, or episode length confirmed at this time.
In a statement, Paramount TV president Nicole Clemens said:
“Grease is one of the most beloved Paramount titles and it’s a thrill to be reimagining it for today’s audience with our good friends at Temple Hill and Picturestart. When Bob Greenblatt [who oversees content at HBO, TNT, TBS] called about bringing it to television, we knew we would be in the perfect hands because of our great working relationship with HBO Max and Bob’s genuine passion for musicals and Grease in particular.”
Sarah Aubrey, head of content at HBO Max, added:
“Grease is an iconic pop-culture phenomenon that works for every generation, and I’m thrilled that our friends at Paramount were excited about the idea of opening up the show and putting it on a larger canvas for a weekly series. This is high school and life in small-town USA told on the scale of a big rock ’n’ roll musical. It’s Grease 2.0 but with the same spirit, energy and excitement you immediately think of when you hear any of these iconic songs. You’re the One That I Want!”
Paramount’s film division also has a Grease prequel in the works titled Summer Lovin‘. John August is writing the script for that. I have a slight suspicion that if Rydell High is a hit for HBO Max, Summer Lovin‘ could easily become one of HBO Max’s first original films.
Now I love Grease, but I’m not sure that a television series featuring songs stuck in the fifties will be a hit with the proposed demographic HBO Max is probably looking to secure. Nostalgia seems to be aimed at time periods roughly thirty years in the past, meaning the late-70s, early-80s were nostalgic for the fifties, while today we’re focused on the 80s and early-90s.
I could see Rydell High being an instant hit if they’d make it a sequel series, instead of happening in-and-around the events of the original film. If they could get Travolta and Newton-John to reprise their roles Danny and Sandy, that would be a huge sell. It likely won’t happen, but it would definitely give this series something to talk about.
We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available for Grease: Rydell High, and HBO Max in general.
Do you think this Grease show is necessary? Would it alone get you to subscribe to HBO Max?