Paul joins the previously announced starring duo Olivia Rodrigo and Madison Hu, who play Paige and Frankie in the tween video blogging-themed comedy, which follows the two quirky best friends who write wacky songs and create music for their online channel, which is called “Bizaardvark.” Now with 10,000 subscribers, the girls are invited to work at a prestigious studio space that they hope will take their videos to the next level. Immersed in this fun and creative world of video blogging, the girls embark on a series of fun adventures with their friends and fellow video bloggers.
Paul’s casting is a bit meta, as he’ll play Dirk, a video blogging star. In real life, the teenager’s Vine account has nearly 5 million followers, and all of his other social-media efforts are hugely popular, with his Instagram account boasting almost 2 million fans.
In addition to Paul, Ethan Wacker (“K.C. Undercover,” “Miles From Tomorrowland”) and newcomer DeVore Ledridge have also been cast as series regulars, with Ledridge playing a social-media star, Amelia, who’s known for her popular channel “Perfect Perfect With Amelia,” and Wacker playing Bernie, Paige and Frankie’s classmate and wannabe agent.
“We are so excited to have Jake Paul join the cast of ‘Bizaardvark.’ Not only does he genuinely capture the spirit of Dirk, but by virtue of his popularity in social media, he brings a freshness and true authenticity to the world we are creating,” Judy Taylor, Disney Channel senior VP of casting and talent relations, tells Variety. “Series leads Olivia and Madison, along with Jake, DeVore and Ethan, are a great addition to our Disney Channel family.”
The casting of social-media star Paul on “Bizaardvark” is a clear sign of the industry’s ever-changing pool of talent, which recently has propelled digital stars into more traditional platforms like TV series. YouTube star Colleen Ballinger-Evans, better known as her character Miranda Sings, just landed a scripted series at Netflix; Vine star Andrew Bachelor, aka King Bach, had a scripted comedy in development at Fox, though it was not picked up to pilot; and HBO has greenlit an Issa Rae series.
For Disney, the series is a sign of the kid cabler’s evolving content, which often mirrors real-life trends (in this case, the rise of social media and its creative content platforms among tweens). With Latino and Asian leads, the show is also representative of Disney’s effort to undertake increasingly more diverse casting, also seen in the network’s new Latino family sitcom “Stuck in the Middle,” starring “Jane the Virgin’s” Jenna Ortega.
“Bizaardvark” was created by Kyle Stegina and Josh Lehrman, who were participants in Disney Channel’s inaugural Storytellers program. The duo will serve as co-exec producers, and Eric Friedman (“Austin & Ally,” “Crash & Bernstein”) will exec produce.