Disney Plus does not seem to be figuring it out on the way when it comes to the “Lizzie McGuire” revival.
Production on the show halted in January after the firing of original series creator and revival showrunner Terri Minsky after just two episodes were completed. Her unceremonious exit has led many industry insiders to speculate that the revival will not move forward.
Series star Hilary Duff has remained mostly mum on the subject, but she has made her feelings known in some not-so-subtle ways. Late Tuesday night, Duff posted a screenshot to her Instagram story of a news headline about the planned Disney Plus “Love, Simon” series. Now titled “Love, Victor,” the show was moved this week to Hulu after it was deemed not “family-friendly” enough for the Disney-branded streamer. In her post, Duff circled the words “family-friendly” in the headline and wrote above it “Sounds familiar.”
“I am so proud of the two episodes we did,” Minsky told Variety in an interview. “Hilary has a grasp of Lizzie McGuire at 30 that needs to be seen. It’s a wonderful thing to watch. I would love the show to exist, but ideally I would love it if it could be given that treatment of going to Hulu and doing the show that we were doing. That’s the part where I am completely in the dark. It’s important to me that this show was important to people. I felt like I wanted to do a show that was worthy of that kind of devotion.”
Duff declined to comment for this story, but multiple sources close to the production tell Variety that the star is none too happy with the Mouse House for firing Minsky. The two women wanted to do a more adult version of Lizzie for the revival, while Disney wants a show that would appeal to kids and families, something more akin to the original series. Sources say that Disney was initially onboard with Minsky and Duff’s take from the time they pitched it to filming, during which time executives from Disney were onset and were aware of the type of content that would be featured in the show.
Production on the show began in November but had paused in early January as Duff was going on her honeymoon in Mozambique. Two days before she returned, Variety broke the news that Minsky would be fired. According to multiple sources, Minsky, her writing staff, the production team and Duff learned that Minsky was being removed as showrunner only after the Variety story was published, despite Variety having reached out to Disney for comment hours prior to publication. (Minsky declined to comment on how she learned of her dismissal.)
At this time, no new showrunner has been named, though meetings with potential replacements for Minsky are said to be ongoing. It is possible the show could still move forward if a new showrunner is able to balance the desires of both Duff and Disney, but that appears increasingly unlikely, sources with knowledge of the show indicate. A Disney spokesperson denied that the show is being scrapped in a statement.
“We paused production on ‘Lizzie McGuire’ a few weeks ago to allow time for some creative re-development,” they said. “Our goal is to resume production and to tell an authentic story that connects to the millions who are emotionally invested in the character, and a new generation of viewers too.”
The cast — which also includes original series stars Adam Lamberg, Hallie Todd, Robert Carradine and Jake Thomas — as well as the writers and production staff are now said to be in limbo awaiting a decision on the show’s future.
“Lizzie McGuire” is one of several nostalgic IP-based projects in the works at Disney Plus. The streamer recently gave out series orders for a “Turner & Hooch” series starring Josh Peck, a “Mighty Ducks” series that will see Emilio Estevez reprise the role of Gordon Bombay, and an Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor. New episodes of “The Proud Family,” a Disney Channel original like “Lizzie McGuire,” are also said to be in the works.