Freeform came ready to rock this morning at the Freeform Upfront event in NYC. The network announced a wide-array of new shows, popular premieres, new originals through 2017, and summer return dates all for fans to prepare for.
The network is also getting into the late-night game, airing original programming in late night hours for the first time. The network is also getting a live festival called “Freeform Fest,” and creating short-form content to live in all the places Freeform exists, including traditional, digital and social platforms.
Freeform will also grow its digital offering to unite the linear and non-linear worlds enabling fans to simultaneously engage with Freeform content and their social networks as it adds to the many ways it engages with its viewers. Over time, the new offering will give the audience choice and control over how and when they consume content, allow them to binge and stream, to customize playlists of their favorite episodes and scenes, to interact with advertising and even be a part of the development process.
“Freeform is a brand built for the fresh taste of a modern generation who value open-mindedness, fluidity, immediacy and who don’t like to be fenced-in,” said Ascheim. “As we continue to evolve and deliver on our brand promise, it’s important that we put our audience at the center of everything we do and connect with them in all the places they are and in the ways they prefer – on our cable network, in the digital space and with ‘Freeform Fest’ IRL (in real life).”
So the new blockbuster dramas “Dead of Summer” from Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis (“Once Upon a Time”), and “Guilt” from Lionsgate TV and Thunderbird Films, along with cheerleading docuseries “Cheer Squad,” all got premiere dates today.
Then you have your fan favorite comedies like “Young & Hungry” and “Baby Daddy,” those will premiere on Wednesday, June 1, followed by “Guilt” on Monday, June 13, and “The Fosters” one week later on Monday, June 20.
At the center of the Freeform movement is the unstoppable “Pretty Little Liars,” will kick off its summer season with a new episode on Tuesday, June 21. The highly anticipated “Dead of Summer” will premiere on Tuesday, June 28.
Then on Monday, August 22, “Cheer Squad” will join the lineup airing weeknights at 10:00 p.m. EDT. Procedural drama “Stitchers” is currently airing its second season Tuesdays at 10:00 p.m. EDT and will finale Tuesday, May 24 with “Monica the Medium,” debuting its sophomore season later this month on Monday, April 25 at 10:00 p.m. EDT and will air with all-new episodes through Monday, June 27.
Premiering in 2017 are sci-fi series “Beyond” and unscripted series “The Letter.” “Peabody Award -Winning “Switched at Birth” will end its five-season run after more than 100 episodes, in early 2017 with a special 90–minute series finale. Also returning is the hit epic saga “Shadowhunters,” which will premiere its recently announced second season.
Adding to its history of addicting, soapy dramas, Freeform has picked up to series “Famous in Love,” from I. Marlene King, the executive producer of “Pretty Little Liars,” and starring superstar Bella Thorne.
The network will also make its first venture into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with new series “Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger,” a superhero love story. For the first time, Freeform will also launch original programming in late night with “Alice,” a half-hour weekly variety-style platform showcasing bold, groundbreaking and experimental short-form content. The network is also greenlighting a new pilot, “Issues” from Cosmopolitan editor in chief Joanna Coles.
Tentpole programming is another area the network continues to expand both with new content and additional events. Holiday-themed movie shorts will be added to the “25 Days of Christmas” lineup this year. Also during this year’s holiday season, the network will premiere the latest installment in the popular Cinderella Story films, “A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits,” starring Sofia Carson (“Descendants”).
In the tradition of “25 Days of Christmas,” “Countdown to 25 Days,” “13 Nights of Halloween” and “Funday,” the network is adding two new tentpole movie stunts. First up is “Man Crush Movie Week” later this month, with such movie favorites as “The Notebook” and the network premiere of “The First Time.” “Harry Potter’s Birthday” on July 31 will celebrate the birthday of everyone’s favorite boy wizard.
Freeform is currently in development on its first late-night talk show, the fiercely funny “Later Bitches,” from longtime producers Jennifer Flanz (“The Daily Show”) and Elise Terrell (“The Daily Show”), as well as developing “Freeform Presents: Snapshot,” two one-hour documentaries focusing on big pop culture moments from the producers of “30 for 30” and ESPN Films.
New scripted series development includes: “Rising” from executive producers Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey and Aaron Kaplan; “Nine Years Under” from executive producer Will Packer; a spinoff of the network’s popular sitcom “Young & Hungry” executive produced by and starring Ashley Tisdale.
Also on the way is “Misfits” from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (“Gossip Girl,” “The O.C.”); “Alone Together” from The Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer; “Made in LA” from Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage and Mila Kunis (“That 70s Show”); “Lore” from executive producer McG; comedy “Paige One” executive-produced by actress/director Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect” films).
“Hunted” from Mila Kunis and Ed Bernero; mermaid thriller “The Deep”; and from executive producer Joel Silver and Lionsgate, “New People” are also on the scheduling pallet.
As foe original movies, Freeform currently has the movie “Angry Angel” in development, along with a holiday movie reuniting the characters from the network’s original series “GREEK.”
The network is also developing short-form projects for linear and/or digital platforms including “Rio Squad” (working title), shorts featuring female athletes who have dedicated their lives to being the best at their sport; “Open Roads,” “My Boyfriend is a Robot,” “Untitled Punam Patel Project” and “Just Josh.” The network is also licensing short-form content from “School of Doodle.”
“Freeform Fest” is another first for the network that is also in development. “Freeform Fest” is a brand-defining live event slated for summer 2017 that is a collaborative and creative celebration between fans and talent in tribute to TV, music, art, comedy, fashion, film and digital media. There will be performances, fan interaction, participatory activities, interactive art, food, drink, sideshows and delightful surprises in between, with live custom vignettes and a wrap-up on-air special.
Now let’s get back to the series you love. “Young & Hungry” returns with more episodes, and more ups and downs in Gabi and Josh’s relationship! This season, Gabi, reeling from her discovery of Josh with his therapist, meets a brokenhearted stranger (guest star Tyler Ritter) and they decide to commiserate together. Elliot and his husband Alan make a major life change, and Yolanda celebrates a big milestone. “Young & Hungry” stars Emily Osment, Jonathan Sadowski, Rex Lee, Aimee Carrero and Kym Whitley. Premieres Wednesday, June 1 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
“Baby Daddy” picks up right where it left off in the spring finale, with Ben finally deciding to be with Zoey (guest star Jonna Walsh), just as her son’s father reappears in her life. Riley is heartbroken after learning Danny hooked up with Sam (guest star Daniella Monet) in high school, and decides to put him on “trial” for his misdeeds with Bonnie acting as his lawyer. Tucker tries to further his career as an entertainment reporter, and Bonnie reunites with a relative she’d rather forget. “Baby Daddy” stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Derek Theler, Tahj Mowry, Melissa Peterman and Chelsea Kane. Guest stars this season include Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Loni Anderson, Eddie Cibrian and Jackée Harry. Premieres Wednesday, June 1 at 8:30 p.m. EDT.
Guilt is a new series coming this summer. In the murder of Molly Ryan, many are guilty in different ways, but only one is truly guilty of her murder. When Natalie’s sister Grace becomes the prime suspect in her roommate Molly’s murder and popular target for the press and in social media, Natalie leaves her life in Boston and heads to London to defend her. With the help of an ethically questionable ex-pat lawyer Stan Gutterie, Natalie starts to question how innocent her sister may really be as more ugly truths start to emerge. In this one-hour soapy drama, the mystery will twist through all layers of London society – from a posh but depraved sex club and all the way up to the Royal Family itself. “Guilt” stars Billy Zane, Emily Tremaine, Daisy Head, Cristian Solimeno, Naomi Ryan, Kevin Ryan, Zachary Fall, Simona Brown and Sam Cassidy. “Guilt” comes from Lionsgate TV and Thunderbird Films. The series is executive-produced by Kathryn Price, Nichole Millard, Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, Larry Shaw and Stephen McPherson. Premieres Monday, June 13 at 9:00 p.m. EDT.
The Fosters will have t’s new season pick up immediately from the dramatic cliffhanger finale with Mariana’s emotionally devastated boyfriend Nick bringing a gun to school. Now that Callie’s moms know she slept with Brandon, Callie worries they may not want her to remain part of the family. “The Fosters” stars Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Hayden Byerly, Noah Centineo, David Lambert, Maia Mitchell, Danny Nucci and Cierra Ramirez. Premieres Monday, June 20 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
Pretty Little Liars will enter its seventh season this year, and the PLLs band together to unearth answers to the last remaining secrets and take down “Uber A” for good in the most romantic season of PLL yet. “Pretty Little Liars” stars Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Tyler Blackburn, Lucy Hale, Laura Leighton, Shay Mitchell, Andrea Parker and Shay Mitchell. Premieres Tuesday, June 21 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
In Dead of Summer, the series is set in the late 1980s. School is out for the summer and a sun-drenched season of firsts beckons the counselors at Camp Stillwater, a seemingly idyllic Midwestern summer camp, including first loves, first kisses — and first kills. Stillwater’s dark, ancient mythology awakens, and what was supposed to be a summer of fun soon turns into one of unforgettable scares and evil at every turn. From ABC Signature Studios and executive producers Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis, Ian Goldberg and Steve Pearlman, the series stars Elizabeth Mitchell, Elizabeth Lail, Zelda Williams, Mark Indelicato, Alberto Frezza, Eli Goree, Ronen Rubinstein, Amber Coney and Paulina Singer. Premieres Tuesday, June 28 at 9:00 p.m. EDT.
“Cheer Squad” will introduce viewers to the Great White Sharks. A sisterhood that are there for each other through first loves, new jobs, bad breakups, and everything in between. But they are also elite athletes, idolized by thousands and members of the best all-star cheerleading team in the world. “Cheer Squad” will follow the two-time World Cheerleading Champions on the long road to defending their title as they try to balance life off the mat with the all-consuming battle to stay on top. Premieres Monday, August 22 at 10:00 p.m. EDT and airs nightly as a two-week programming event.
Programming Coming in Early 2017
Looking ahead you have “Beyond,” a one-hour drama about Holden, a young man who wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers new abilities that propel him into the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. Now Holden must try and figure out what happened to him during those 12 years; how to survive a world that changed while he was gone; and answer the question, why did this happen to him? The series stars Burkely Duffield, Romy Rosemont, Michael McGrady, Jonathan Whitesell, Dilan Gwyn, and Jeff Pierre. From Imperative Entertainment and Automatik, “Beyond” is created, written a executive produced by Adam Nussdorf. Tim Kring, David Eick, Steven Adelson, Zak Kadison, Justin Levy and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones will serve as executive producers.
“The Letter” is a bold, new relationship show that asks the simple question: If you could, without identifying yourself, would you tell your best friend what he or she really needed to hear? In each stand-alone episode, four people close to one another draw names and anonymously write to the selected person a thoughtful, yet totally honest letter outlining their opinion of what needs to be changed in order to improve and transform the life of the recipient for the better. For one week, each “reader” must follow ALL the rules and instructions outlined in the letter – culminating in a dramatic and emotionally charged meeting where the authors of each letter reveal themselves to their best friends.
Shadowhunters was a huge hit with fans this year, and season two of “Shadowhunters” will pick up where the dramatic season one finale left off, with Jace standing alongside Valentine and his friends fearing the worst. Clary, Alec and Isabelle will stop at nothing to bring their brother back, along with help from Luke, Magnus, Simon and a now awake Jocelyn. Season two will bring fans more demon fighting, more werewolves and vampires, and a lot more Malec. The series stars Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Matthew Daddario, Emeraude Toubia, Alberto Rosende, Isaiah Mustafa and Harry Shum Jr.
“Switched at Birth” will begin its fifth and final season in 2017 – including the milestone 100th episode. The upcoming season picks up from the cliffhanger finale with Daphne and Bay living in China. A mysterious call has them packing for home, where they try to settle back in, but ten months has brought some changes. Daphne finds herself in the midst of racial tensions at the university and witnesses the racism faced by her black friends Iris, Sharee, and new baseball star Chris, in an episode told solely from their perspectives. The 100th episode sees the return of Angelo Sorrento (guest star Gilles Marini) as a vision brought about by a young woman with an unexpected link to the Kennish/Vasquez families. The series is executive-produced by Lizzy Weiss, Paul Stupin and Linda Gase. The series stars Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Constance Marie, D.W. Moffett, Lea Thompson, Lucas Grabeel, with guest stars Sean Berdy and Marlee Matlin.
Everything New! We talked about Famous in Love starring Bella Thorne earlier today, but the series is based on the novel by Rebecca Serle published by Little, Brown and Company. “Famous in Love” follows ordinary college student Paige as she gets her big break after auditioning for the starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster. She must now navigate her new star-studded life and undeniable chemistry with her two co-leads, while discovering the highs and lows that come with being the new It Girl in town. Bella Thorne (“The DUFF”) will star as Paige. I. Marlene King (“Pretty Little Liars”), Miguel Arteta (“Getting On”) and Dan Farah (“Ready Player One”) are executive producers, and Rebecca Serle is co-executive producer. The series is produced by Long Lake Media, Farah Films and Carmina Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Horizon Television. I. Marlene King and Rebecca Serle wrote the teleplay for the pilot, which was directed by Miguel Arteta.
“Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger” an adaptation of the beloved Marvel characters whose story is aimed squarely at young adults. This live-action interracial romance follows Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart — but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging. “Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger” is a co-production of Marvel Television and ABC Signature Studios.
So what does that leave? You have a few pilots that are in the work, and a few major projects in the works as well. Inspired by the life of Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan, the scripted show is a glimpse into the outrageous lives and loves of those responsible for a global women’s magazine. Their struggles are about finding your identity, managing friendships, and getting your heart broken, all while wearing the perfect jeans to flatter any body type. The series was created by Sarah Watson (“Parenthood”). David Bernad (“Superstore”), Joanna Coles and Ruben Fleischer (“Superstore,” “Zombieland”) will serve as executive producers. Holly Whidden is a co-executive producer. The series is a Universal Television and The District production.
For the late night crowed we spoke briefly about “Later Bitches,” a fresh take on after-hours talk, is a half-hour, comedic talk show, hosted by a group of smart, alluring and dynamic ladies having fun on their own terms and redefining late night in the process.
It’s everything traditionally great about late night doused in sugar, spice, and everything nice (and not so nice). It’s the latest in pop culture, unique celebrity interviews, whatever’s going viral, lifestyle takeaway, adrenaline-fueled debates and tell-all conversations usually reserved ONLY for therapy – while sipping champagne cocktails, of course. It’s late-night talk meets “Sex and the City” – and it’s about time. Longtime producers Jennifer Flanz (“The Daily Show”) and Elise Terrell (“The Daily Show”) will consult. “Later Bitches” will be produced by Omelette Bar Productions and True Entertainment.
The Docuseries Snapshot is going after pop-culture in a big way. “Freeform Presents: Snapshot” takes a closer look inside the most pivotal moments of the last 20 years, while exploring how those events have been shaped by a continually more connected population.
The dramas are “The Deep,” which takes place in a 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.
Misfits is 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.
New People, Executive-produced by Joel Silver and writer/director Don Roos, in association with Lionsgate, is a dramedy focused 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 comes from executive producer Will Packer, andtells 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 executive-produces.
Rising, Executive-produced by Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey and Aaron Kaplan, is a 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.
Enough drama for you? Don’t forget that Freeform also has comedies. “Alone Together” comes from The Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer. In the series 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.
From executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, 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.
“Paige One” comes from Elizabeth Banks, the executive-producer behind this single-camera comedy. The series 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 young daughter. The show comes from Brownstone Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television, and executive producers Banks, Max Handelman and executive producer/writer Susan Jaffee.
Oh and don’t forget about that Young & Hungry Spinoff. The series will be executive-produced by and starring Ashley Tisdale as Logan Rawlings.
Let’s get to the movies people. “Greek: The Reunion” will have the characters from “GREEK” return to Cypress Rhodes University for their five-year reunion. It will be executive-produced by Shawn Piller, Lloyd Segan and Patrick Sean Smith.
“Angry Angel” will come from executive producer Will Gluck, a disgruntled angel tries to make it back into heaven after being kicked out.
The Short-Form Development Projects include Just Josh, a docuseries that follows professional dancer Josh Horner as he gives unconventional crash courses in dancing for special events. There will also be “My Boyfriend is a Robot,” which is a romantic fish-out-of-water comedy centering on the relationship between a girl and her boyfriend – who happens to be a robot. The project is from executive producers Deb Spera and Maria Grasso.
“Open Roads” is another project focusing on nonprofit organization Open Roads, which provides filmmaking wilderness camps for high school students. This docuseries follows campers’ experiences in the wild, making documentaries, and creating new relationships. Viewers will also get to see completed documentaries from the Open Roads campers.
An untitled Punam Patel Project will come from comedienne Punam Patel, who hosts an unconventional interview-based show. Each episode finds Punam tucking in a celebrity/person of influence into bed, using children’s stories as a launching pad for fun and personal conversation topics.
Rio Squad (working title)
In a collaboration with ESPNW, “Rio Squad” (working title) highlights four uniquely powerful female athletes who have dedicated their lives to being the best at their sport. It follows these women as they pursue their dreams, prepare for the Summer Games, and demonstrate that a female hero doesn’t have to take the shape of a princess.
The “School of Doodle” is a series of short videos acquired from School of Doodle, an organization that creates inspiring content for girls and women. This series will celebrate the arts and provide the audience the tools to turn creative potential into success.