NBC will make ‘The Wiz Live’ accessible for the visually impaired

Originaly published at: http://mashable.com/2015/12/02/wiz-live-visually-impaired/?utm_campaign=mash-prod-synd-apple-all-full&utm_cid=mash-prod-synd-apple-all-full#TTU7nN7pLgqm

NBC’s live broadcast of The Wiz Live will be fully accessible for people with visual disabilities.

The musical production will be the first live entertainment show in U.S. history to provide video description to viewers with Secondary Audio Program audio feeds, according to an announcement by Comcast. Video description is defined as “a narration track between the natural pauses in the dialogue that describes the action happening on-screen.”

“Comcast’s commitment to include video description with the performance of The Wiz Live! is ground-breaking,” said Kim Charlson, President of the American Council of the Blind in the announcement. “The path to accessibility is a journey of inclusion of all audiences.

Tom Wlodkowski, the vice president of accessibility at Comcast Cable in TV, who was born blind, explained why it was such an important development.

“When I tune-in to a program that includes description, I can follow along much better and get much more enjoyment from that particular show or movie,” he says in a statement.

It will be a big first for NBC, which has recently put on two live musical broadcasts: The Sound of Music in 2013 and Peter Pan in 2014. The Wiz Live, which will air Dec. 3, is an adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical starring Stephanie Mills.

The NBC production stars a slew of big names, including Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, Amber Riley, David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo and newcomer Shanice Williams, who won an open casting call and will play the role of Dorothy.

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