TV Insider Podcast: Making Music on NBC’s ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’

Zoeys Extraordinary Playlist Cast
Maarten De Boer/NBC

Just two episodes into its first season, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist already has something to sing about.

The first episode of the musical dramedy series, which aired last month on NBC and YouTube, has amassed over 40 million views, which is a pretty good start for any series. Now the question is whether the show hold onto its audience while airing every Sunday on NBC. One thing Zoey’s got right from the start is incorporating the musical moments not in a distracting way but rather using them as a compelling device to fuel the narrative.

In case you need a catch-up, the ambitious series follows 20-something Zoey Clarke (Jane Levy), who develops the ability to see and hear musical numbers (via the emotions of those around her) thanks to a San Francisco earthquake happening during her MRI.

Strangers, friends, family members, a street-filled dance parade (the numbers are courtesy of La La Land‘s Oscar-winning choreographer Mandy Moore, also a producer on the show) are all a part of what Zoey sees. And by the end of the second episode, Zoey realizes maybe this is a power she should embrace and not try to extinguish. By hearing what’s really going on with people, Zoey has the ability to help them and, oftentimes, herself.

The series comes from executive producer Austin Winsberg (9JKL, Gossip Girl) who sat down for an episode of the TV Insider Podcast to talk about how he brought a big part of his own family life to the story of the show. He also revealed just how tough (or easy) it is to get the usage rights to a wide range of music — from contemporary hits like the Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker” to classics like Van Morrison’s “Moondance.”

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Sundays, 9/8c, NBC.

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