The 3-hour program will be based on the original 1959 Broadway musical, said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment.
"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," producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said in a statement, "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."
Set in pre-WWII Austria, "The Sound of Music" is based on the romantic 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 -- and finds herself falling in love with her employer and questioning her religious calling.
The live telecast will air during the holidays in 2013, the Los Angeles Times said.