HBO Max and Cartoon Network have given the green light and acquired several projects for their children and family live action slate, Variety learned exclusively. The slate includes two specials based on Mattel’s American Girl franchise and a supernatural romance starring Peyton List.
The first American Girl special will have the working title “American Girl: Corinne Tan”, inspired by the doll brand’s 2022 Girl of the Year and the first doll of Chinese descent. Miya Cech plays 13-year-old skiing enthusiast Corrine, who is still struggling with her parents’ recent divorce, while her 10-year-old sister Gwynn (Kai Cech), mother Judy (Michelle Krusiec), father and stepfather Arne have adjusted. to their new roles in this composite family. She discovers a new purpose when she challenges herself to train a rambunctious puppy named Flurry to become a search and rescue dog.
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Angela Tortu acts as director. Fred Soulier and Phil Breman executive produce for Mattel Television, while Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer and Fernando Szew executive produce for MarVista Entertainment with Adam Shepard as co-executive producer. “American Girl: Corinne Tan” will premiere on Cartoon Network in December 2022 and will be available on HBO Max the following day. The second American Girl special will follow next year.
Peyton List stars in the two-part HBO Max special “B-Loved” (working title) from Endeavor Content and Wonder Worldwide. The special follows Bea (List), a free-spirited teenage ghost who develops a special friendship with the new kid in town, Cole, whose house she’s lived in for over 100 years. Using a magical ring that allows Cole to see Bea, they rediscover the meaning of life, but also the importance of letting go.
Cesar Vitale, winner of the Black List Nicholl Fellowship, is the writer, while Emily Ting is directing. Mark Burton and Aaron Parry, Tracy K. Price, William Andrew, Ryan Malachowsky and Jill Sanford. Executive Products. “B-Loved” will premiere in time for Valentine’s Day 2023.
“The live-action specials announced today capture the sweetness, fun, chaos and messy, imperfect genius of growing up and becoming who you are. Let’s face it, most of us can still empathize with all those feelings that make this content so resonating,” said Amy Friedman, head of child and family programming at Warner Bros. “These projects are a reflection of our commitment to bring in more girls. and teens to HBO Max and Cartoon Network with authentic, fun, courageous and emotional stories that speak to children’s lives today.”
HBO Max and Cartoon Network also announced “Home Sweet Rome,” a musical comedy series set to premiere in 2023. From “Hannah Montana” and “That’s So Raven” creator Michael Poryes, the series follows 13-year-old Lucy (Kensington Tallman) who moves from California to start a new life in Rome with her father and stepmother, Francesca ( Eleonora Facchini) – who happens to be an Italian pop star. With new friends, fantastic food, haute fashion and a best friend who lives thousands of miles away, Lucy discovers what ‘When in Rome’ is all about as her adventures abroad begin.
“Home Sweet Rome” was developed and written by showrunners Matt Huether and Courtney Jane Walker. Italy’s Red Monk Studio and Canada’s First Generation Films co-produce. Executive producers include Pedro Citaristi of Red Monk and Christina Piovesan of First Generation, along with Doug Schwalbe, Jérémie Fajner and Clement Calvet of Superprod Group, Matt Huether, Courtney Jane Walker and Poryes.
“Michael Poryes has created beloved global teen and tween hits from ‘Hannah Montana’ to ‘That’s So Raven.’ ‘Home Sweet Rome’ will be added to that list of iconic female protagonists, and this time… in Rome!” said Friedman. “We will explore the most authentic and hilarious tween issues, such as new friends, new stepmother, new life against the beautiful backdrop of Rome’s food, fun and fashion, shot entirely on location. I have never had so many executives insisting on a regular visit.”
HBO Max has also purchased the “Hank Zipzer” and “My Babysitter’s a Vampire” series, both adapted from young adult book series, as well as the teen dance series “The Next Step.” In addition, Season 5-7 of “The Next Step” will be available this summer.
Based on the book series co-written by Henry Winkler and inspired by his own life, “Hank Zipzer” will debut on HBO Max on May 13. The series follows 12-year-old Hank, a smart and resourceful boy with dyslexia who sees himself differently from the way the world sees him.
When Ethan Morgan (Matthew Knight)’s overprotective parents arranged for a babysitter to watch over him and his 8-year-old sister in “My Babysitter’s a Vampire,” he thought he would die of shame. But don’t worry, shame is now the latest in a long list of things that want to kill him. The series is currently slated to debut on HBO Max in October 2022.
“The Next Step” follows the highs and lows of an exceptional group of dancers as they learn to bet on themselves, believe in their team and face their challenges on the way to fulfilling their dreams. Season 8 will premiere on HBO Max in 2023. Seasons 5-7 will be available on the streamer this summer.
†Pictured, left to right: Miya Cech, Peyton List)
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