Freeform is hitting the gas on original series development, pacting with a slew of producers — from Selena Gomez to Will Packer to Mila Kunis to Andy Samberg to the “Gossip Girl” team of Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage — as the Disney-owned cabler hunts for shows to reinforce its revamped brand image.
The network formerly known as ABC Family relaunched in January with a moniker designed to appeal to millennial viewers and their younger siblings. Losing the “ABC” and “Family” designations was meant to allow the channel to expand the horizons of its original series and separate it from the established Alphabet network. The channel has also sought to expand its digital horizons with original content and by making its TV shows more readily available on its authenticated streaming app.
Not surprisingly, the projects on Freeform’s slate feature multicultural families, fantasy vehicles and rags-to-riches aspirational tales. The slate includes the channel’s first late-night talk show — with the decidedly un-family friendly title “Later Bitches,” from producers Jennifer Flanz (“The Daily Show”) and Elise Terrell (“The Daily Show”). Freeform is also taking a page from the playbook of its ESPN sibling in developing “Freeform Presents: Snapshot,” two one-hour documentaries focusing on pop culture moments. The series hails from the producers of ESPN’s sports docu series “30 for 30” and ESPN Films.
Here’s a rundown of Freeform scripted projects in various stages of development:
Exec produced by Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey and Aaron Kaplan, this drama is set in a low-income Latino neighborhood, and is told through the eyes of an 18-year-old girl destined for greatness. Ana Cobarrubias will be a consultant on the project.
In the mermaid-obsessed sea town of Bristol Cove, everyone’s lives will change when actual mermaids come ashore, causing sides to be taken, loyalties to be tested and a war between man and mermaid to begin. Executive producers include Eric Wald, Dean White, Brad Luff, RD Robb and Nate Hopper.
From executive producer Mila Kunis, “Hunted” centers on Valerie who escapes prison to prove she did not murder her husband. While the police hunt for her and attempt to prove her family helped her escape, Valerie fights to exonerate herself – but is she really innocent? Along with Kunis, Ed Bernero and Hugh Sterbakov executive-produce.
A sci-fi drama from executive producer McG, “Lore” tells the story of the lone survivor of an ancient race of paranormal beings who is abducted and forced to put his extraordinary abilities to work for the government. When an old nemesis resurfaces, this arrangement turns into an uneasy alliance, and the only hope for survival in a dangerous world of mystery and magic. The series is written by Zack Stentz (“Thor”) and executive-produced by McG, Mary Viola, Zach Stentz, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross.
A drama based on a hit British series, a group of twenty-somethings are exposed to a mysterious chemical, and subsequently develop peculiar superpowers. The series is from ABC Signature Studios and executive-produced by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.
Executive-produced by Joel Silver and writer/director Don Roos, in association with Lionsgate, this dramedy focuses on a middle class family who adopted identical twin boys at birth. One is all boy, one grew up trans. The series is inspired by the book “Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family.”
Nine Years Under
From executive producer Will Packer, “Nine Years Under” tells the story of a law school grad who blows off the bar exam to take a job at a funeral home after the sudden death of her mother. Along with Packer, Korin Huggins exec produces.
From the Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, two misfits from different backgrounds try to make their way into the vain and status-obsessed culture of Los Angeles. Along the way, they find salvation in their male/female, strictly platonic friendship.
Made in LA
From executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (“Gossip Girl”), along with Mila Kunis, “Made in LA” is a half-hour comedy set in the world of fashion, centering on two friends who join their different skill sets to become fashion entrepreneurs. The series is loosely inspired by the creators of fashion label Juicy Couture and the authors of “The Glitter Plan.” The series is from ABC Signature Studios.
Elizabeth Banks exec produces this single-camera comedy that follows the insulated life of a children’s book author who hates children. Her life is turned upside down when her brother shows up on her door with his two young daughters. The show comes from Warner Horizon TV and executive producers Banks, Max Handelman and Susan Jaffee.