Paola-Santiago

Disney Branded TV’s new slate leans into fantasy & adaptations

Projects from Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, the Russo brothers and a new Goosebumps series are in the works for Disney+ and Disney Channels.
February 8, 2022

Disney Branded Television is focusing on fantasy and partnering with some big-name talent as it gets to work on a new slate of original kids and family content for Disney+ and Disney Channels.

On the film side of things, three new live-action movies are lined up for Disney+. Prom Pact revolves around a book-smart teenager who starts tutoring a jock to improve her chances of getting into Harvard, while The Naughty Nine is a holiday-themed heist movie in which kids on Santa’s naughty list come up with an elaborate plan to steal presents. And MarVista Entertainment is producing sequel Under Wraps 2, about a group of kids who need to stop an evil mummy before a wedding.

Disney+ is also expanding its R.L. Stine content library with a new Goosebumps series from Sony Pictures Television Studios in the works. This book-based action-adventure show centers around five high-schoolers grappling with supernatural forces threatening their hometown. Disney’s streamer  also previously ordered an eight-episode series from 20th Century Fox called Just Beyond, based on a graphic novel series penned by Stine and published by BOOM! Studios.

On the unscripted front, Disney+ has ordered documentary series Growing Up from New York-based Culture House. Its 30-minute episodes blend interviews with teenagers and re-enactments of key moments in their lives to illustrate the struggles they’re facing. Actor Brie Larson is an executive producer on the series. Meanwhile, Boardwalk Pictures is delivering a project fronted by Jeremy Renner called Rennervations. In this four-part series, the Avengers actor travels around teaching fabricator skills and giving vehicles to communities in need.

In development news, Disney+ is doubling down on projects with Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) with Paola Santiago and the River of Tears. This 20th Television live-action series is an adaptation of Tehlor Kay Mejia’s book of the same name (pictured) about a teen girl who relies on science to solve problems. But when her best friend goes missing, she must learn to embrace the mysterious power of magic instead. This project joins Longoria’s sci-fi series Sal & Gabi Break the Universe in Disney Branded Television’s pipeline.

Reese Witherspoon’s prodco Hello Sunshine is developing an animated series for two- to seven-year-olds called Tiny Trailblazers for Disney Junior. Witherspoon and Claire Curley (head of kids and animation at Hello Sunshine) are executive producing this show that highlights the wonder of the great outdoors and the importance of protecting the environment. National Geographic is consulting.

The Russo brothers (Avengers: Endgame) are working on original animated movie Superfudge, based on a beloved Judy Blume novel about a 12-year-old boy whose perfect life goes awry when his rambunctious three-year-old brother runs away and must be found and returned home.

Disney Branded Television has recently been expanding the team that will manage this new slate of content. Just yesterday, the division  announced that it had hired former FOX Entertainment head of drama and programming Charlie Andrews to head up live-action and alternative series. And Brenda Kelly-Grant was promoted to SVP of casting and talent relations in November 2021.

About The Author
News editor for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at rtuchow@brunico.com

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