Carrie Underwood Cast as Maria in NBC’s ‘Sound of Music’

Live adaptation from "Smash" producers expected at end of next year

NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt said last week that a big casting announcement was coming for the network's live "Sound of Music" adaptation, and here is it: Carrie Underwood will play Maria.

Getty ImagesCraig Zadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of NBC's "Smash," are producing the new, three-hour live adaptation, which is expected to air around Christmas next year.

“Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn't be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp,” said Greenblatt. “She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.”

"We're thrilled to be presenting the Broadway version of ‘The Sound of Music’ live,” said Zadan and Meron, “and having Carrie Underwood as the star brings it to a new generation who will fall in love with it for the first time as many millions of people already have. It's a particular joy to us as producers to see this amazing artist stretch into new territory with this classic musical."

The casting of Underwood, the season 4 "American Idol" winner, will only add to the Fox show's complaints that other networks are borrowing its stars. Underwood is perhaps the biggest to emerge from the show. "Smash" stars another "Idol" vet, Katharine McPhee.

Underwood has sold 15 million albums sold worldwide and won three female vocalist awards from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.

Zadan and Meron are also producing the Oscars telecast. They have a first-look development deal with Universal Television and NBC Universal International.

The Rodgers & Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music," set in pre-World War II Austria, is based on the true story of Maria von Trapp, an aspiring nun who leaves the abbey to become a governess for the widower Captain von Trapp's seven children. She finds herself falling in love with von Trapp. It premiered on Broadway in 1959, broke box-office records and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The 1965 film version won the Oscar for best picture.