Kenny Ortega of the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” franchise has just signed a multi-year overall deal with Netflix. The pact with the producer, director, and choreographer continues Netflix’s aggressive push to lock down major talent as media giants such as the Walt Disney Company and Comcast prepare their own streaming services. In recent months, Netflix has signed deals with the likes of Ryan Murphy (“Glee”), Shonda Rhimes (“Scandal”), and Pixar vet Darla K. Anderson.
“As a fan of Netflix and their dynamic range of high quality content, I am thrilled to begin a creative relationship with the company,” Ortega said in a statement. “I’m super excited about the projects we already have in development and the shared enthusiasm I feel from the company. l look forward to this new Netflix collaboration with the highest hopes.”
Netflix unveiled two projects that Ortega will make for the company. He will direct and produce a film tentatively entitled “Auntie Claus,” as well as executive produce an original series dubbed “Julie and the Phantoms.” “Auntie Claus” follows a young girl in her quest to find a Christmas-loving aunt who has gone missing. It will be a musical and is based on the popular book series of the same name by Elise Primavera. The film will be adapted by Tiffany Paulsen (“Nancy Drew”).
“Julie and the Phantoms” is a musical comedy series and an adaptation of a Brazilian television series. It centers on teen girl whose band consists of three teen boys who have been dead for 25 years. Dan Cross and David Hoge (“The Thundermans”) will serve as showrunners and executive producers on the series, with George Salinas and Jaime Aymerich of Crossover Entertainment, as well as Hugo Janeba and Joao Tikhmiroff of Mixer Entertainment.
In addition to “High School Musical,” Ortega directed and choreographed the “Descendants” trilogy, “Newsies,” and “Hocus Pocus.” Truman Alfaro will serve as Ortega’s development executive.
“Throughout the course of his career, Kenny Ortega has inspired generations of artists and audiences alike,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “That he has chosen to make Netflix his creative home to work on both feature films and series is thrilling. We can’t wait to see what he brings to Netflix to delight musical-loving families and audiences around the globe.”
Cross, Hoge and Crossover are represented by Paradigm and Darren Trattner at Jackaway , Tyerman, Wertheimer, Austen, Mandelbaum Morris and Klein. Ortega is represented by Paradigm and Barry Littman at Hanson, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller and Gellman.