According to Variety, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg is currently in the early stages of developing a TV series that will centre on the creation of a Broadway musical from its creative conception to opening night. The resultant musical will then be shown to live audiences on Broadway and potentially in the West End as well.

Spielberg, who has apparently been formulating the idea for several years, will be reuniting with Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman on the project (the creative duo behind Hairspray), who he worked with on the recent musical adaptation of Catch Me If You Can (See The Goss, 3 Jul 2003). American cable television company Showtime and DreamWorks TV are on board to produce the yet-to-be-titled series.

Spielberg's hope is that the television programme will run for several seasons, with new theatrical productions being turned round as often the series do. The veteran film director apparently wants to create a scripted series as opposed to a documentary, setting it apart from recent casting shows such as I'd Do Anything and How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?.

While there will undoubtedly be cynics, the potential for star casting and the resultant audience reach is huge.