By Andie Hagemann
For four days, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is attending the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour to discover what the future of linear and streaming looks like for The Walt Disney Company. Read on to learn more about new series The Company You Keep, Will Trent, Not Dead Yet, The Watchful Eye, American Born Chinese, as well as returning programs Jeopardy! Masters, Claim to Fame, Abbott Elementary, Grey’s Anatomy, General Hospital, grown-ish, How I Met Your Father, The Bear, Dave, and many more!
ABC, Freeform, and Disney Television Studios presented on Wednesday, followed by FX on Thursday. Disney+, Disney Branded Television, and National Geographic, will present on Friday, while Hulu and Onyx Collective will present Saturday. Below is a chronological recap of the presentations. Keep checking back as more announcements are made.
ABC has picked up an elite-level iteration of Jeopardy! Masters, produced by Sony Pictures Television. Hosted by Ken Jennings, the primetime series will feature the six highest-ranked current Jeopardy! contestants—Matt Amodio, Sam Buttrey, Andrew He, James Holzhauer, Mattea Roach, and Amy Schneider—who will face off in a Champions League-style event to win the coveted title of Jeopardy! Masters Champion. The series is executive produced by Michael Davies.
Additionally, competition series Claim to Fame—hosted by Kevin and Frankie Jonas—along with fan-favorite game shows Celebrity Family Feud and Press Your Luck received new season pickups.
Dust off your dictionaries and grab that hairbrush microphone! Today, ABC announced Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong, the fifth installment of its successful Singalong franchise, with Emmy®-winning television host Ryan Seacrest, airing Wednesday, February 1, from 8-9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong will be available to stream the next day on Hulu and at a later date on Disney+. The special transports viewers back to school, where they’ll enjoy beloved Schoolhouse Rock hits that are as educational as they are catchy, all in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic series.
Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong includes performances by Black Eyed Peas (“Three Is a Magic Number”), Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert (“Figure 8”), Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen (“I’m Just a Bill”), Julianne Hough (“Interplanet Janet”), The Muppets & Fortune Feimster (“Unpack Your Adjectives”), NE-YO (“Verb: That’s What’s Happening”), Raven Symoné and Kal Penn (“Interjections”), Retta (“Ready or Not, Here I Come”), Shaquille O’Neal and Boys & Girls Club of Atlanta (“Conjunction Junction”), and stars from Disney’s Broadway and touring productions (“A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing”).
The performance of “A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing” highlights Disney’s Broadway stars Michael Maliakel (Aladdin), Bonita Hamilton (The Lion King), Mduduzi Madela (The Lion King), Marcus M. Martin (Aladdin), Kara Lindsay (Newsies), and Charity Dawson (Hercules)
Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong is produced by Done+Dusted in association with Walt Disney Television Alternative. Executive producers include RJ Durell, Ashley Edens, Nick Florez, and Katy Mullan.
As one chapter closes, a new one opens: Grey Sloan Memorial celebrates Meredith Grey, portrayed by Disney Legend Ellen Pompeo, as she says farewell to Seattle, when Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday, February 23, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
In the episode entitled “I’ll Follow the Sun,” it’s Meredith’s last day at Grey Sloan Memorial and the doctors plan a goodbye surprise, while Nick confronts her about the future of their relationship. Elsewhere, the interns compete to scrub in on Maggie and Winston's groundbreaking partial heart transplant procedure, and Richard asks Teddy an important question. “I’ll Follow the Sun” is written by Krista Vernoff and directed by Debbie Allen.
Grey’s Anatomy also stars Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber, Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt, Caterina Scorsone as Amelia Shepherd, Camilla Luddington as Jo Wilson, Kelly McCreary as Maggie Pierce, Kim Raver as Teddy Altman, Jake Borelli as Levi Schmitt, Chris Carmack as Atticus “Link” Lincoln, Anthony Hill as Winston Ndugu, Alexis Floyd as Simone Griffith, Harry Shum Jr. as Benson “Blue” Kwan, Adelaide Kane as Jules Millin, Midori Francis as Mika Yasuda, Niko Terho as Lucas Adams, and Scott Speedman as Nick Marsh.
Grey’s Anatomy was created and is executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. Krista Vernoff serves as showrunner and executive producer. Betsy Beers, Mark Gordon, Meg Marinis, Zoanne Clack, Allen, and Pompeo are executive producers. The series is produced by ABC Signature, a part of Disney Television Studios.
On the heels of its three wins at Tuesday night’s Golden Globe® Awards ceremony, ABC has renewed hit comedy series Abbott Elementary from Warner Bros. Television and 20th Television for a third season. It was announced today by Craig Erwich, president, ABC Entertainment, Hulu & Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals.
Season 2 is currently airing on ABC and available to stream the next day on Hulu. New episodes air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Abbott Elementary stars Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, Janelle James as Ava Coleman, Lisa Ann Walter as Melissa Schemmenti, Chris Perfetti as Jacob Hill, William Stanford Davis as Mr. Johnson, and Emmy® Award winner Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard.
Brunson created the series and also serves as executive producer alongside Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, of Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions, and Randall Einhorn.
Steamy new drama The Company You Keep, starring Milo Ventimiglia and Catherine Haena Kim, debuts Sunday, February 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
A night of passion leads to love between con man Charlie (Ventimiglia) and undercover CIA officer Emma (Kim), who are unknowingly on a collision course professionally. While Charlie ramps up the “family business” so he can get out for good, Emma’s closing in on the vengeful criminal who holds Charlie’s family debts in hand—forcing them to reckon with the lies they’ve told so they can save themselves and their families from disastrous consequences. The series is based on the Korean Broadcasting System series My Fellow Citizens.
Watch a sneak peek below:
The Company You Keep also William Fichtner as Leo, Tim Chiou as David, Freda Foh Shen as Grace, James Saito as Joseph, Sarah Wayne Callies as Birdie, Felisha Terrell as Daphne, and Polly Draper as Fran.
Executive producers and co-showrunners are Julia Cohen and Phil Klemmer, Milo Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff (DiVide Pictures), Jon M. Chu and Caitlin Foito (Electric Somewhere), and Todd Harthan and Lindsay Goffman (Gratitude Productions). Deanna Harris (DiVide Pictures) is a producer. The series is produced by 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios.
ABC’s daytime drama General Hospital will celebrate its 60th anniversary on Saturday, April 1, 2023. To honor the milestone, the network is set to present the cast and crew with a stage dedication on the Prospect Studios lot, permanently commemorating the show’s legacy.
The show will kick off its anniversary programming at the end of March with a special episode honoring the late Sonya Eddy, who played head nurse Epiphany Johnson on the series since 2006. Then, the beloved Nurses Ball—a fictional glamorous charity event complete with red-carpet fashion and musical performances from the illustrious citizens of Port Charles, all dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness—returns starting the week of April 3. This marks the first time the Nurses Ball has aired since 2020. The festivities will then continue as icons of Port Charles unite to stop a legendary threat from the past. ABC also announced Jane Elliot is set to reprise her role as the legendary Tracy Quartermaine in April.
General Hospital stars Genie Francis, Maurice Benard, Finola Hughes, Kristina Wagner, Nancy Lee Grahn, Rebecca Herbst, Kelly Monaco, Laura Wright, Kirsten Storms, Dominic Zamprogna, Maura West, Chad Duell, Roger Howarth, Donnell Turner, Michael Easton, Eden McCoy, Cynthia Watros, Katelyn MacMullen, Sofia Mattsson, Amanda Setton, Brook Kerr, Nicholas Chavez, Avery Kristen Pohl, Cameron Mathison, Charles Shaughnessy, Tajh Bellow, Tanisha Harper, Tabyana Ali, Robert Gossett, Josh Kelly, Gregory Harrison, and Evan Hofer.
General Hospital was created by Frank and Doris Hursley. Frank Valentini serves as the executive producer and showrunner. Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor are co-head writers. The series is produced by ABC.
Based on Karin Slaughter’s New York Times bestselling book series of the same name, Will Trent follows Special Agent Will Trent (Ramón Rodríguez) of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), who was abandoned at birth and endured a harsh coming-of-age in Atlanta’s overwhelmed foster care system. But now, determined to use his unique point of view to make sure no one is abandoned like he was, Trent has the highest clearance rate in the GBI. Will Trent airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Watch a sneak peek of next week’s episode, airing Tuesday, January 17:
Will Trent also stars Sonja Sohn as Amanda Wagner, Erika Christensen as Angie Polaski, Iantha Richardson as Faith Mitchell, and Jake McLaughlin as Michael Ormewood. Liz Heldens, Daniel Thomsen, Oly Obst, and Slaughter serve as executive producers; Rodríguez is a producer. The series is produced by 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios.
ABC’s newest addition to its comedy roster, Not Dead Yet starring and executive produced by Gina Rodriguez, makes its highly anticipated series debut with a two-episode premiere on Wednesday, February 8,starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The series follows Nell Serrano (Rodriguez), a broke and newly single self-described disaster, working to restart the life and career she left behind five years ago. When she lands the only job she can find―writing obituaries―Nell starts getting life advice from some unlikely sources, the dead people whose lives she’s writing about. Joining previously announced Martin Mull as Nell’s ghostly visitors is a star-studded roster, including Ed Begley Jr., Mo Collins, Deborah S. Craig, Telma Hopkins, Don Lake, Rhea Perlman, Paula Pell, Tony Plana, Brittany Snow, and Julia Sweeney.
Not Dead Yet also stars Hannah Simone as Sam, Lauren Ash as Lexi, Rick Glassman as Edward, Josh Banday as Dennis, and Angela Gibbs as Cricket. Casey Johnson and David Windsor are creators and executive producers. Also executive producing is Dean Holland and Wonderland Sound and Vision’s McG, Mary Viola, and Corey Marsh. The series is produced by 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios.
As Rome Howard says, “Life isn’t just about the moments; it’s about who you share them with.” And as the fifth and final season of the beloved ABC drama series A Million Little Things unfolds, viewers will watch through laughter and tears as the incredible journey reaches its conclusion. Along the way, viewers will explore the depths of friendship, love, and sorrow as we bid adieu to this special family of friends, once again proving that friendship really is a million little things. The celebratory farewell season of A Million Little Thingsbegins Wednesday, February 8, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Below is a preview of the final season:
The series stars David Giuntoli as Eddie Saville, Romany Malco as Rome Howard, Allison Miller as Maggie Bloom, Christina Moses as Regina Howard, Grace Park as Katherine Kim, James Roday Rodriguez as Gary Mendez, Stephanie Szostak as Delilah Dixon, Tristan Byon as Theo Saville, Lizzy Greene as Sophie Dixon, and Chance Hurstfield as Danny Dixon.
DJ Nash is the creator and executive producer; Terrence Coli, Aaron Kaplan and Brian Morewitz are executive producers; Terrence Coli serves as the showrunner; ad Joanna Kerns serves as co-executive producer on the series from ABC Signature/Kapital Entertainment. ABC Signature is a part of Disney Television Studios.
Freeform has picked up Love Trip: Paris, an unscripted dating show filmed entirely in Paris, to series. In Love Trip: Paris, four American girls—Caroline, Rose, Lacy, and Josielyn—unlucky in love in their own country, move into a penthouse in the middle of Paris to find a floor of French suitors waiting to date them. Is this love trip to Paris their one-way ticket to romance, or are they headed for heartbreak in another language? The series debuts Tuesday, February 14, at 9 p.m. ET/PT with a two-episode premiere and will air weekly at 10 p.m. ET/PT thereafter.
Freeform shared a sneak peek at the new series:
Love Trip: Paris comes from FOX Alternative Entertainment and AH Production/Satisfaction Group, who originated the format, and is executive produced by Susan House. The show is narrated by Matt Rogers.
Freeform also shared that grown-ish has been picked up for Season 6. The series returns for the second half of its fifth season on Wednesday, January 18, at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, and will be available to stream the next day on Hulu.
grown-ish follows Andre Johnson Jr. (Marcus Scribner), aka Junior, as he finishes his first year at Cal U, transitioning from Zoey’s little brother to big man on campus. The series also stars Yara Shahidi, Trevor Jackson, Diggy Simmons, and Daniella Perkins. Kenya Barris, Zakiyyah Alexander, Courtney Lilly, Craig Doyle, Shahidi, Disney Legend Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, E. Brian Dobbins, and Michael Petok serve as executive producers. grown-ish is produced by ABC Signature.
Freeform released the trailer for the upcoming mystery The Watchful Eye, from Ryan Seacrest Productions. The series follows Elena Santos (Mariel Molino), a young woman with a complicated past, maneuvering her way into working as a live-in nanny for an affluent family in Manhattan. She quickly learns that everyone in the mysterious building has deadly secrets and ulterior motives. What they don’t know, however, is that Elena has some shocking secrets of her own.
The Watchful Eye is created by Julie Durk, who also serves as consultant. Emily Fox is showrunner and executive producer. Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass, Andrea Shay, and Jeffrey Reiner serve as executive producers, with Reiner directing the pilot. The series is produced by ABC Signature, a part of Disney Television Studios. The Watchful Eye premieres Monday, January 30, at 9 p.m. ET/PT with a two-episode premiere and will air weekly at 10 p.m. thereafter, and will be available to stream the next day on Hulu.
Good Trouble returns for a fifth season this spring, following the twenty-something residents of Los Angeles’ The Coterie. The roommates will face their toughest obstacles yet as they’re confronted with evolving relationship challenges and new career opportunities. Through highs and lows, romance and heartbreak, The Coterie crew will lean on each other while they navigate the next stage of adulthood. The series stars Cierra Ramirez, Tommy Martinez, Emma Hunton, Sherry Cola, Zuri Adele, Josh Pence, Bryan Craig, and Booboo Stewart. It is executive produced by Joanna Johnson, Christine Sacani, Greg Gugliotta, Jennifer Lopez, Benny Medina, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, and Cierra Ramirez. Johnson also serves as showrunner. Good Troublereturns to Freeform on Thursday, March 16, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, and the next day on Hulu, with fan-favorite Maia Mitchell returning to reprise her role as Callie Adams-Foster.
The second season of the critically acclaimed comedy Single Drunk Female will debut on Wednesday, April 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, with the entire 10-episode second season available on Hulu and on-demand platforms the next day, April 13.
In Season 2, with a year and a half of sobriety under her belt, Samantha Fink (Sofia Black-D’Elia) finally feels like she has a life worth celebrating. However, she quickly learns that sometimes life has other plans for her. Sam must figure out how to effect change where she can, sit in her discomfort when she can’t, and maybe even enjoy the ride.
Single Drunk Female also stars Ally Sheedy, Sasha Compere, Lily Mae Harrington, Garrick Bernard, and Ian Gomez. Busy Philipps and Ricky Velez will recur as new people in Sam’s life, and Charlie Hall will once again recur as Sam’s ex, Joel. As previously announced, Molly Ringwald will guest star as Carol’s sister-in-law Alice. The series comes from 20th Television and is executive produced by Jenni Konner, Daisy Gardner, Simone Finch, John Riggi, Phil Traill, Nora Silver, and Leslye Headland.
Cruel Summer, the highest-rated series in Freeform history, will return for its second season in Summer 2023. The anthology series features a brand-new cast and mystery. Set in an idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest, the next chapter of Cruel Summer follows the rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship. Approaching the story from three different timelines surrounding Y2K, the season twists and turns as it tracks the early friendship between Megan, Isabella, and Megan’s best friend Luke; the love triangle that blossomed; and the mystery that would impact all of their lives going forward.
The series stars Sadie Stanley, Lexi Underwood, Griffin Gluck, KaDee Strickland, Lisa Yamada, and Sean Blakemore; Paul Adelstein will recur. Cruel Summer comes from studio Entertainment One (eOne) and was created by Bert V. Royal. Elle Triedman serves as showrunner. Executive producers include Triedman, Bill Purple, Tia Napolitano, and Iron Ocean Productions’ Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple. The series is distributed internationally by eOne.
FX announced the premiere dates for several new and returning series coming in early 2023, including the next batch of documentary films under The New York Times Presents banner, the third season of the comedy series DAVE, and the docuseries Dear Mama.
These series join the previously announced premiere of the sixth and final season of Snowfall on Wednesday, February 22, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX, streaming the next day on Hulu.
The New York Times Presents: Sin Eater, a two-part documentary about infamous Hollywood P.I. Anthony Pellicano, premieres Friday, March 10, at 10 p.m. ET/PT simultaneously on FX and Hulu with the two parts airing back-to-back. Comedy series DAVE from rapper and comedian Dave Burd, will premiere Wednesday, April 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FXX and stream the next day on Hulu.
FX’s The New York Times Presents: The Legacy of J Dilla, a documentary feature about prolific musician, producer, and visionary J Dilla, premieres Friday, April 7, at 10 p.m. ET/PT simultaneously on FX and Hulu. The five-part docuseries Dear Mama, exploring the lives and legacies of mother and son Afeni and Tupac Shakur will debut Friday, April 21, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX and be available the next day on Hulu.
Disney Branded Television
The Disney Original Movie Prom Pact, a heartwarming romantic comedy set during the emotion and excitement of high school prom season. It’s the height of prom season, and high school senior Mandy Yang (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) and her best friend and fellow outsider Ben (Milo Manheim) are surrounded by over-the-top ‘80s-themed Promposals. However, Mandy keeps her eyes focused on a different goal: her lifelong dream of attending Harvard. When she finds out that she has put on the waitlist, she is determined to do whatever she can do to get herself accepted, even if that means asking for help from the one person she abhors—popular all-star jock Graham Lansing (Blake Draper), whose father is a powerful senator and Harvard alum. Once Mandy becomes Graham’s tutor, she begins to realize there’s more to him than she thought and perhaps something more to life than Harvard.
The film stars as Mandy, as Ben, newcomer Blake Draper as Graham, Monique Green as LaToya, Margaret Cho as Ms. Chen, Arica Himmel as Zenobia, Jason Sakaki as Charles, David S. Jung as Tom, and Wendi McLendon-Covey as Alyssa. Anya Adams directed Prom Pact and is also an executive producer along with Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar, Julie Bowen, and Rachael Field.
Disney Channel shared first look images at the upcoming movie below:
Prom Pact premieres Thursday, March 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and the next day on Disney+.
Debuting this spring, American Born Chinese, based on the graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang is a genre-hopping action comedy that tells the story of Jin Wang (Ben Wang), an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods.
Below is a sneak peek at the upcoming series:
American Born Chinese also stars Michelle Yeoh, Yeo Yann Yann, Chin Han, Jim Liu, Ke Huy Quan, Sydney Taylor, and Daniel Wu.
Disney Channel also shared a first look at the new series The Crossover. Based on the critically acclaimed best-selling novel in-verse by Kwame Alexander, The Crossover, from Disney Branded Television, introduces teen brothers Josh and Jordan Bell, widely considered basketball phenoms. Through his lyrical poetry, an adult version of Josh, aka Filthy McNasty, narrates the story of his and his brother’s coming of age, on and off the court, as their former professional basketball player father adjusts to life after basketball and their mother finally pursues lifelong dreams of her own.
Narrated by Daveed Diggs, the series stars Jalyn Hall as Filthy, Amir O’Neil as Jordan, Sabrina Revelle as Crystal, Derek Luke as Chuck, Skyla l’Lece as Alexis, Trevor Raine Bush as Vondie, and Deja Monique Cruz as Maya.
Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, announced that Disney Junior has ordered second seasons of Firebuds, SuperKitties, and Pupstruction, during the Disney Branded Television presentation on Friday.
“Firebuds, SuperKitties, and Pupstruction all encompass what Disney Junior does best,” Davis said. “Each of these series embrace signature Disney qualities of imagination, adventure, and heart, with music you can sing along to and fun, energetic characters that embody positivity, optimism, and the power of teamwork.”
Disney+ has given the greenlight to the feature-length music docu-special Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman, in which Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville captures Dave Letterman on his first visit to Dublin to hang out with Bono and The Edge in their hometown, experience Dublin, and join the two U2 musicians for a concert performance unlike any they’ve done before. Disney Branded Television President Ayo Davis made the announcement today, unveiling a first-look teaser of the docu-special.
“Bono and The Edge are the force behind one of the most prolific and influential acts in the history of rock and roll, and we are honored to bring this truly intimate look at their beginnings, friendship, and creative process to a global audience on Disney+,” said Davis.
Letterman added, “Recently, I won a radio contest. Winner gets to visit Dublin with Bono and The Edge (radio contest part not true, but I feel like a winner). They showed me around, introduced me to their musician friends, and performed some of their greatest songs in a small theater. It’s a great tour. Get in touch with them―I’m told there are still availabilities. I’m the luckiest man on the planet. (There are no availabilities.)”
Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman, from Disney Branded Television, is set to premiere globally on Disney+ on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17, coinciding with the release of U2’s highly anticipated album Songs of Surrender―a collection of 40 seminal U2 songs from across the band’s catalog, re-recorded and reimagined.
Davis also announced that Dan Povenmire, co-creator and executive producer, has agreed to a new overall deal with Disney Branded Television that includes production of 40 all-new episodes of Phineas and Ferb, a second season renewal of the animated superhero series Hamster & Gretel, and the development of live-action projects.
“Dan is renowned for his ability to create universally beloved stories and characters with both heart and humor,” Davis said. “We couldn’t be happier to continue our collaboration with him and bring back the iconic Phineas and Ferb in a big way.”
Meredith Roberts, executive vice president, Animation, Disney Branded Television, added, “Dan is a true mastermind, and his brilliant brand of storytelling has always been infused with a kind-spirited and optimistic sense of humor which continues to strike a perfect chord with audiences the world over. On behalf of everyone at Disney Television Animation, we’re so pleased to continue our association with Dan and his inspiring creative team―visionary producers, writers, animators, song composers, and directors who have entertained and connected with generations of viewers.”
Povenmire wrote and co-wrote some 500 songs for Phineas and Ferb, Milo Murphy’s Law, and Hamster & Gretel, many of which have continued to trend on social media platforms.
“It has been the greatest pleasure of my career to see how an entire generation of kids and parents have embraced the characters and the humor of Phineas and Ferb,” Povenmire said. “I’m eagerly looking forward to diving back into the show for them and for a whole new generation.”
On Friday, Disney Branded Television shared the official trailer for Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, which premieres Friday, February 10, on Disney Channel and shortly thereafter on Disney+.
Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius Lunella Lafayette (aka Moon Girl) (voiced by Diamond White) and her 10-ton T-Rex partner, Devil Dinosaur (voiced by Fred Tatasciore). After Lunella accidentally brings Devil Dinosaur into present-day New York City, the duo works together to protect the city’s Lower East Side from danger.
The series also includes the voices of Alfre Woodard as Lunella’s grandmother, Mimi; Libe Barer as Lunella’s best friend and manager, Casey; Sasheer Zamata as Lunella’s mom, Adria; Jermaine Fowler as Lunella’s dad, James Jr.; Gary Anthony Williams as Lunella’s grandfather, Pops; and series executive producer Laurence Fishburne in the recurring role of The Beyonder, a curious and mischievous trickster. Season 1’s star-studded guest cast includes Jennifer Hudson and Daveed Diggs as villains Mane and Rat King, respectively.
Fans can click here to pre-save the show’s music from executive music producer Raphael Saadiq. The soundtrack will be available on the date of the premiere.
Live onstage, National Geographic Content President Courteney Monroe announced two brand-new unscripted anthology franchises have been greenlit: One Day in America and a currently untitled franchise that will forensically explore the biggest natural disasters in recent history. The two anthology series exemplify National Geographic’s commitment to delve into contemporary history with unparalleled depth and complexity.
“These new documentary franchises exemplify our aim to be the brand of record for events that forever changed the shape of history,” Monroe said. “Weaving together never-before-seen archive and powerful first-person testimony, these powerful and riveting series will serve as the definitive stories of these momentous events.”
The One Day in America franchise, from 72 Films, comes on the heels of the Emmy® Award-winning documentary series 9/11: One Day in America, a six-part series about the events of September 11, 2001, which used archive and first-person testimony from first responders and survivors.
The new series franchise greenlights include the following:
One Day in America
JFK: One Day in America (72 Films)
This is the story of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the president of the United States, told in real time by those who were there. The three-part series will capture how in November 1963, the American president was shot, a search ensued, a policeman was killed, and the assassin was then murdered. Using archive footage of the investigation, police radio recordings, live broadcasts, and footage from dozens of television crews, viewers will be fully immersed into the events as they unfold. New and archival interviews with eyewitnesses who were there will give a unique perspective on what really happened, their version of events, and how they think these experiences shaped them and the wider world. The series marks 60 years since the assassination of JFK, and they are the last surviving witnesses to these extraordinary events. The executive producers are David Glover, TJ Martin, and Dan Lindsay.
The Cult: One Day in Jonestown (72 Films)
The three-part series follows the story of the largest mass murder-suicide in America, told in real time by those who were there, and will capture how on November 18, 1978, over 900 people died during a mass suicide at a cult temple run by Jim Jones. Providing insight and context into this cult, discover how Jim Jones started a progressive society based on Marxist ideals, helping marginalized people who were excluded from society, and how his vision became marked by paranoia and fear, leading him to create a colony in the Guyanese jungle—all leading up to the final shocking order of mass suicide to his followers. The series taps into a staggering archive, including the Jonestown death tape, the 44-minute live audio that records the entirety of the fatal mass suicide, and the harrowing military footage of the soldiers sent to clear up. The series will also feature an extensive collection of films by the Jonestown survivors themselves from the months leading up to the tragedy, allowing a rare look into Jones’ secretive cult.
The only voices viewers will hear are of those who were there on the day and can be seen in the archival footage. There will be archival interviews and first-hand testimony from witnesses giving a unique perspective on what really happened, their version of events, and how they think these experiences shaped them and the wider world. The executive producers are Glover, Martin, and Lindsay.
Natural Disaster Franchise
Tsunami (Working Title) (Blast Films)
On December 26, 2004, the world witnessed the worst-ever natural disaster: the Indian Ocean Tsunami. More than 230,000 people lost their lives, while 3 million people across 14 countries were caught up in the unfolding tragedy. Thousands clung to trees, buildings, and floating wreckage in a bid for survival. Many were rescued through acts of astonishing bravery carried out by strangers from all over the world―neighbors and friends, tourists and first responders. The four-part series will provide the most comprehensive and immersive minute-by-minute account of the tsunami’s seven-hour trail of destruction across two continents, 14 countries, and 5,000 miles. For the first time, the voices of those caught in the disaster will be combined with the never-before-seen footage to shine a light on the resilience, kindness, and bravery that human beings are capable of in the most extreme and difficult circumstances. The executive producers are Danny Horan, Tanya Winston, and Daniel Bogado. The series is set to premiere in 2024, timed to the 20th anniversary.
Katrina (Working Title) (Lightbox)
From Lightbox, the Oscar® and Emmy-winning producers behind LA92, this five-part premium series tells the definitive story of Katrina from a period of two decades of hindsight, with everything we can now see clearly for the first time. As such, the series will offer a layered and nuanced narrative that has not previously been possible. It will foreground the cataclysmic events of the weeks of the disaster in forensic detail while also contextualizing this narrative by pulling together the threads of seemingly unrelated events that played out years, and sometimes even decades, prior to the catastrophe that is vital in understanding not just how Katrina unfolded in the way it did, but why. Told from the perspectives of key characters―both people on the ground and those in positions of power―and hundreds of hours of visceral archival footage which will drive every aspect of our narrative, Katrina (working title) will show how the floodwaters of America’s worst natural disaster tore through not only the Gulf States but also the very fabric of society. In doing so, it will raise searing questions about race in America, many of which remain unanswered―yet still highly relevant―two decades later. Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn are the executive producers. The series is set to premiere in 2025, timed to the 20th anniversary.
Monroe also announced the greenlight of Underdogs, an unconventional natural history series that will tell the story of the heroic underdogs of the natural world―the good, the bad, and the frankly ugly. The 10-part series is co-produced by Ryan Reynolds’ Maximum Effort and Wildstar Films.
The series was unveiled with a tongue-in-cheek teaser video narrated by Reynolds, during Nat Geo’s TCA session. Reynolds will narrate the entire 10-episode series, bringing his distinctive voice and humorous take to the natural world through a groundbreaking partnership that bakes humor into the storytelling from the ground up. From their hidden talents to their bold hygiene choices, unsavory courtship rituals, devious camouflage techniques and “tough love” parenting skills, Underdogs will celebrate and champion the unique and unpredictable behaviors of a little known and surprising cast of animal characters. These overlooked superstars come in all sizes, shapes, and smells. They’re the outcasts and the troublemakers, brash, unsophisticated, flatulent, incontinent, and often unhinged. But they’re also warriors, team players, and evil geniuses. They’re out there 24-7 giving it maximum effort, keeping the natural world in working order for all those showboating polar bears, sharks, and gorillas.
“Underdogs represents an entirely fresh take on the natural history genre that is sure to delight and inform audiences of all ages,” Monroe said. “With Ryan and Maximum Effort’s irreverent spirit and Wildstar’s award-winning expertise in wildlife storytelling, we have assembled the perfect team to tell the entertaining stories of nature’s unsung heroes with both humor and heart.”
Reynolds added, “I love nature series and I love making things my kids can actually watch. We’re already having a lot of fun trying to bring a new voice to animal docs. Wildstar has the expertise, experience, and cutting-edge film tech to help us chew up that healthy National Geographic budget. We’ll deliver a show that is entertaining, surprising and will do justice to animals usually stuck as supporting cast.”
In a surprise appearance at the Winter TCA Press Tour, executive producer and National Geographic Explorer-at-Large James Cameron made the trip to Pasadena to join Monroe onstage.
During the Secrets of the Elephants panel, it was revealed that Natalie Portman will narrate the upcoming Earth Day series, premiering Friday, April 21. Then, Cameron shared new installments of his award-winning National Geographic Earth Day franchise series Secrets of with Secrets of the Bees and Secrets of the Penguins. Previously announced, next year’s special will be Secrets of the Octopus.
“On the Avatar films, we’re creating a fantasy view of nature but, thematically, underneath all that is this idea of the interconnectedness not only of nature itself but of us with nature, as inhabitants of nature,” Cameron said. “In the Secrets series, we try to forge an even more intimate and emotional connection with nature―to illuminate how these amazing creatures think, how they feel, how they communicate, how they function as complex societies and cultures.”
Monroe added, “With an over 135-year-old legacy in natural history content, we’re just as passionate about who’s telling our stories as the stories we tell. Whether it be our onscreen scientists in Secrets of the Elephants, our narrators like Natalie Portman, or our filmmakers like Jim Cameron, we have become a port-of-call for best in class talent who want to tell meaningful stories that inspire a deeper connection to our world. Our Secrets of franchise reinforces our commitment at National Geographic to remaining the leader in natural history storytelling.”
Cameron also shared a clip of his upcoming National Geographic special Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron. The special will air on Sunday, February 5, at 9 p.m. ET/PT leading into Titanic’s remastered theatrical release on Friday, February 10. An update of Titanic: 20 Years Later with James Cameron, the new documentary features the surprising story of how the long-lost ship was found, explores historical questions about how the Titanic sank, and digs into the debate about whether additional lifeboats on board would have saved more lives. In a new segment, Cameron adds a postscript to his fictional retelling of the tragedy. After hearing fans continue to insist Jack didn’t have to die that night, he gathers hypothermia experts and mounts tests to determine, once and for all, whether both Jack and Rose could have fit on the raft and survived.
Premiering this spring on National Geographic and Disney+, the limited series A Small Light tells the remarkable story of a 20-something secretary, Miep Gies (Bel Powley), who didn’t hesitate when her boss, Otto Frank (Liev Schreiber), asked her to hide him and his family from the Nazis during World War II. For the next two years, Miep; her husband, Jan (Joe Cole); and several other everyday heroes watched over the eight souls hiding in the secret annex. It was Miep who found Anne Frank’s diary and preserved it so that she and Otto could later share it with the world.
A new featurette (below) debuted during the series’ panel:
The series’ title comes from something Gies said late in her life: “I don’t like being called a hero, because no one should ever think you have to be special to help others. Even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can turn on a small light in a dark room.”
A Small Light is produced by ABC Signature in partnership with Keshet Studios for National Geographic. Executive producers and writers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan serve as showrunners, and Susanna Fogel directs multiple episodes, including the pilot. The executive producers are Peter Traugott and Lisa Roos for Keshet Studios, Alon Shtruzman for Keshet International, and Avi Nir for Keshet Media Group.
National Geographic also shared premiere dates for the follow series: Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller(Season 2 now airing on National Geographic), Restaurants at the End of the World (debuting Tuesday, March 21, on National Geographic), Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper (debuting Saturday, June 17, on Nat Geo Wild), and Never Say Never with Jeff Jenkins (debuting Sunday, July 9, on National Geographic). All these series will be available to stream on Disney+ at a later date. The National Geographic Documentary Films Fire of Love, Retrograde, The Territory, and The Flagmakers are all available on the streaming service now.
Disney Television Studios
On Wednesday, Disney Television Studios invited reporters to the set of the hit series How I Met Your Father for a Q&A with stars Hilary Duff, Christopher Lowell, Francia Raisa, Suraj Sharma, Tom Ainsley, and Tien Tran and executive producers Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger, and Pamela Fryman, where they teased what to expect in Season 2.
Watch the Season 2 trailer below:
On Saturday, January 14, Hulu presented first looks at the upcoming original series History of the World, Part II; Up Here; Tiny Beautiful Things; and Saint X.
After waiting over 40 years, there is finally a sequel to the seminal Mel Brooks film History of the World Part I, with each episode of History of the World, Part II featuring a variety of sketches that take us through different periods of human history.
The series stars Mel Brooks, Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, and Ike Barinholtz—as well as many more guest stars! Brooks also serves as a writer and executive producer on the series along with Kroll, Sykes, Barinholtz, and David Stassen. Kevin Salter, David Greenbaum, and Christie Smith are executive producers. Alice Mathias, Stassen, Kroll, and Lance Bangs directed the eight-episode season.
The first two episodes of History of the World, Part II premiere Monday, March 6, kicking off a four-night event with two new episodes launching each day.
Up Here follows the extraordinary story of one ordinary couple, Lindsay (Mae Whitman) and Miguel (Carlos Valdes), as they fall in love and discover that the single greatest obstacle to finding happiness together might just be themselves—and the treacherous world of memories, obsessions, fears, and fantasies that lives inside their heads.
The series also stars Katie Finneran, John Hodgman, Andréa Burns, Sophia Hammons, Emilia Suárez, and Scott Porter.
Up Here is written by Steven Levenson and Danielle Sanchez-Witzel with songwriting duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez writing original songs. Thomas Kail directs and executive produces the series alongside Levenson, Sanchez-Witzel, Anderson-Lopez, Lopez, and Jennifer Todd. 20th Television serves as the production company alongside Kail’s Old 320 Sycamore Productions.
All eight episodes will launch Friday, March 24, exclusively on Hulu.
Based on the best-selling collection by Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things is about a woman—Clare (Kathryn Hahn)—who becomes a revered advice columnist when her own life is falling apart. When we first meet Clare, her marriage to her husband Danny (Quentin Plair) is on its last leg. Her daughter, Rae, will barely talk to her. And her once-promising writing career is non-existent... so, when an old writing friend suggests she take over as the advice columnist Dear Sugar, she thinks she’s the last person for the job. But after reluctantly agreeing, she realizes that she might just be completely qualified. As the letter writers force Clare to revisit her most pivotal moments, she excavates the beauty, struggle, and humor in her own life to show us that we are not beyond rescue, that it’s our stories that can ultimately save us, and maybe even bring us back home.
Liz Tigelaar serves as creator, showrunner, and executive producer, alongside executive producers Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Lauren Neustadter, Stacey Silverman, Jayme Lemons, Strayed, and Hahn. The series is from ABC Signature and Hello Sunshine.
All eight episodes of Tiny Beautiful Things will be available to stream Friday, April 7.
Adapted from Alexis Schaitkin’s novel of the same name, the series Saint X—told via multiple timelines—explores and upends the girl-gone-missing genre as it explores how a young woman’s mysterious death during an idyllic Caribbean vacation creates a traumatic ripple effect that eventually pulls her surviving sister into a dangerous pursuit of the truth.
The series stars Alycia Debnam-Carey, Josh Bonzie, West Duchovny, Jayden Elijah, Bre Francis, Kenlee Anaya Townsend, Betsy Brandt, and Michael Park.
Leila Gerstein wrote and will executive produce, with Dee Rees directing and executive producing. Stephen Williams will also executive produce with David Levine and Zack Hayden for Anonymous Content, Aubrey Graham pka Drake, Adel “Future” Nur, and Jason Shrier for Dreamcrew Entertainment, Alexis Schaitkin, and Steve Pearlman. Saint X is a production of ABC Signature.
The first three episodes launch Wednesday, April 26, with new episodes debuting weekly thereafter.
Onyx Collective continues to expand its slate of premium programming by creators of color and underrepresented voices. Below are the panels and announcements from the TCA sessions on Saturday, January 14.
Original dramedy UnPrisoned, executive produced and starring Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo, is set to premiere Friday, March 10, on Hulu, with all episodes streaming at once. From creator Tracy McMillan, the eight-episode series is produced by ABC Signature and will stream exclusively on Hulu in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America, and Disney+ in all other territories.
Inspired by McMillan’s life, UnPrisoned is a half-hour dramedy about a messy but perfectionist relationship therapist and single mom whose life is turned right-side-up when her dad gets out of prison and moves in with her and her teenage son.
The highly anticipated six-part limited docuseries The 1619 Project, an expansion of “The 1619 Project” created by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times Magazine, paneled at the 2023 Winter TCA session. The series is set to premiere the first two episodes exclusively on Hulu on Thursday, January 26, with two episodes releasing weekly on Hulu subsequently, as previously announced.
The 1619 Project seeks to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. The episodes—“Democracy,” “Race,” “Music,” “Capitalism,” “Fear,” and “Justice”—are adapted from essays from the recently published book, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, and examine how the legacy of slavery shapes different aspects of contemporary American life.
The series, hosted and executive produced by Hannah-Jones, is a Lionsgate Production in association with One Story Up Productions, Harpo Films, and The New York Times. Also serving as executive producers are Roger Ross Williams, Caitlin Roper, Kathleen Lingo, and Disney Legend Oprah Winfrey. Shoshana Guy is the showrunner and executive producer.
Onyx Collective also announced the pilot pickup of 1266 (working title), a scripted comedy from 20th Television starring Gabourey Sidibe, as well as a straight-to-series order greenlight for the three-part docuseries Black Twitter (working title), directed by Prentice Penny. Based on Jason Parham’s WIRED article “A People’s History of Black Twitter,” this three-part series charts the rise, the movements, the voices, and the memes that made Black Twitter an influential and dominant force in nearly every aspect of American political and cultural life.