Disney’s Freeform is making a push into animation and has given a greenlgiht to Praise Petey (working title).
The series will be executive produced by King of the Hill creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels.
Here are details about the series:
- Though Judge and Daniels are EPs through their company Bandera Entertainment, Praise Petey is created by Saturday Night Live head writer Ana Drezen.
- Series synopsis: “Petey is a New York City ‘it’ girl who has it all until her life comes crashing down around her. A mysterious gift from her father gives her a new lease on life: she’s going to ‘lean into’ modernizing his small-town cult. Now she has to use her city smarts to revamp her father’s failing cult and be a better leader than he was, a much more laidback one — a nice one — a girl boss.”
- The series is being produced by Disney Television Studios’ 20th Television Animation. Animation service studio is Shadowmachine (Bojack Horseman, Final Space, Tuca & Bertie, Robot Chicken). Shadowmachine cofounder Alex Bulkley will executive produce. Production begins early next year.
- Praise Petey stars Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek) as Petey. Voice cast includes John Cho as a potential love interest, Kiersey Clemons as Petey’s BFF, Christine Baranski as Petey’s mother, and Stephen Root as Petey’s father, who may or may not be alive.
- Other EPs on the series include Drezen, Monica Padrick (Central Park), and Dustin Davis (of Judge and Daniels’s Bandera Entertainment).
- Freeform is eyeing animation as a new growth area. The basic cable channel is now the syndicated home for Family Guy, and it is actively developing other animated comedies. Shows in development include SupaShawty Girls (creators: Adamme & Adanne Ebo), Wallflower (creators: Julia Edelman, Danielle Uhlarik, Olivia de Recat), and Funkamatic BangBang. All will be produced by Disney’s 20th Television Animation.
- Freeform’s head of originals Jamila Hunter recently told The Hollywood Reporter that “developing animation for Gen Z fans of that genre is part of [Freeform’s] strategy. . . Our lens on all our shows is to put a Gen Z millennial lens on any story.” Hunter says that the network is in constant communication with Disney-owned streamer Hulu since the series will also appear on that service. Hunter adds that though they’re focusing on YA characters, the shows are designed for family or co-viewing to fit in with the overall Disney brand.
- Whether animation becomes a larger part of Freeform’s programming is still undecided. Says Hunter, “Animated shows take longer to produce. The success will be what gets us able to do more. We have to learn more about how our audience responds on linear and on Hulu.”