Comcast will be including a video description track to the Broadway musical "The Wiz Live!" when it airs on NBC on Dec. 3, to aid the blind and visually impaired.
Visually impaired people are not currently able to appreciate the entirety of live TV, as while they may hear the dialogue in the show, they may miss the sight-based things that happen which play important roles in the content.
Comcast will be making "The Wiz Live!" the first live entertainment show in the history of United States broadcasting to be accessible to viewers with visual disabilities through a video description track.
A video description track is a narration track inserted between pauses in the dialogue of a show. The narration will describe the show's visual components, including the facial expressions and costumes of characters, the settings and the stage direction.
With the track, people with visual impairments will know when a character arrives on the scene, smiles, or does anything that will not be picked up just from listening to the dialogue.
"Comcast's commitment to include video description with the performance of The Wiz Live! is ground-breaking," said The American Council of the Blind President Kim Charlson.
The broadcast of "The Wiz Live!" with the video description track would be available all over the United States, wherever secondary audio program audio feeds are accessible. To be able to provide the service, Comcast and NBC are teaming up with Descriptive Video Works, which is an industry-leading company in the field of video and audio description to aid people with visual disabilities.
"The broadcast of The Wiz Live! represents a real milestone in how people with visual impairments experience television," said American Foundation for the Blind CEO Carl Augusto, adding that the combination of technology and accessible content is powerful.
"The Wiz Live!" is an adaptation of the classic tale "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, with a book written by William F. Brown and music and lyrics penned by Charlie Smalls.
The show features stars Queen Latifah as the Wiz, Mary J. Blige as Evillene, Shanice Williams as Dorothy, David Alan Grier as the Lion, Ne-Yo as the Tin Man, Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow, Amber Riley as Addaperle, Stephanie Mills as Auntie Em, Uzo Aduba as Glinda and Common as the Gatekeeper.