DHX Television’s Family Channel in Canada will premiere the live-action family comedy series Raising Expectations, starring Jason Priestley and Molly Ringwald, on May 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Originally entitled The Wonderful Wayneys, the 26 x half-hour-series is produced by Toronto’s Aircraft Pictures in association with Miami-based Dolphin Entertainment.
Raising Expectations follows Wayne (Priestley) and Paige (Ringwald), two perfect parents with five children–four of whom always strive for perfection. The youngest son Emmett (Simon Cadel), however, is happy to remain mediocre.
The comedy fits into DHX’s overall strategy of broadening Family’s programming to appeal to wider audiences while still maintaining a core demographic of eight- to 14-year-olds, says Michael Goldsmith, VP of original production at DHX Television. Goldsmith gives the recent launch of teen-focused programming block F2N as another example of DHX putting this strategy into action.
“We wanted to–within the regular Family Channel block–also think about [reaching] more people who frankly may not turn on Family Channel, who may not know about the channel or watch the channel. So we were thinking about a single-camera comedy that is age-appropriate for the core audience,” he says. “There’s nothing in this show that we think will turn kids off or that is inappropriate, but there’s a lot there in the writing and the casting for parents, and also for adults who may not have kids, who like Molly and Jason, and who want to see a comedy.”
He adds that it was important for DHX to include programming that could appeal to tweens, teens and their parents because the company has learned through research and anecdotes that parents want to watch television with their kids–they just have a hard time finding shows that appeal to everyone in the family.
Changing the show’s name was another way to help attract older audiences.
“There was a real feeling as we developed the show, and through production, that it had an appeal that was broader than a typical kids comedy,” he says. “Wonderful Wayneys, as much as we loved the title, felt a bit derivative of other kid comedies─and frankly a little bit younger.”
Raising Expecations was created by Tom Saunders (Arrested Development, The Larry Saunders Show), who also serves as executive producer. Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen are producing, with Bill O’Dowd executive producing. Steve Skrovan and Garry Campbell are co-executive producers.
From Playback. With files from Regan Reid.