Freeform President Tom Ascheim and Executive Vice President of Programming and Development Karey Burke unveiled yesterday the new and returning projects for The Walt Disney Company’s young adult cable network at the combined Disney|ABC Television’s presentation for the national advertising community at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall.
Freeform continues to dominate the young adult landscape in cable with the No. 1 comedy (“grown-ish”) and the No. 1 new drama (“Siren”) with young adults and holds the No. 2 slot with women 18-34 and women 12-17. Also claiming the title of No. 1 most social cable network for the 7th year in a row and the No. 1 network in digital viewing, Freeform is delivering on its new tagline “A Little Forward.”
The recently re-branded network continues to build its roster of quality programming that speaks to the young adult consumer who has embraced its authenticity, evident in recent multi-platform hits “grown-ish,” “Siren” and the critically acclaimed “The Bold Type.” In addition to strong female representation on-screen, the network champions and has built an impressive, inclusive roster behind the scenes. Half of Freeform’s episodic directors are female, diverse, or LGBTQ, 60% of series writers are female or diverse, and every original series on the network has a female producer. The network also boasts placement as No. 1 in digital viewing, No. 5 entertainment network and the most social cable network for the seventh year in a row.
“In the past year, our commitment to quality has been reflected back to us with a rousing chorus of critical and fan acclaim,” says Ascheim. “Our young adult audience is the most important and influential generation in America and we want to be right there with them every step of the way.” Adds Burke, “We like changing the narrative at Freeform and are proud that our original programming resonates so strongly with this audience. We are grateful to all of our series creators who share our focus on challenging the status quo and telling stories with meaning.”
NEW SERIES PROGRAMMING
“Besties,” a half-hour multi camera comedy from co-creators Kenya Barris and Ranada Shepard has been ordered to series by Freeform following the enormous success of Barris’s breakout coming-of-age show, “grown-ish,” the No. 1 cable comedy season-to-date (women 18-34.) This multi-cam sitcom explores friendship, identity, race, and class as two lifelong best friends use each other to get through some of the toughest challenges that they will ever face – figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Kenya Barris and Ranada Shepard are executive producers; the series is produced by ABC Signature Studios.
“PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: THE PERFECTIONISTS”
Marlene King will expand the universe of “Pretty Little Liars” for Freeform with a 10-episode series order for “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists,” featuring returning fan favorites Sasha Pieterse as Alison and Janel Parrish as Mona and starring Sofia Carson (Disney’s “Descendants”) as Ava. The drama also welcomes Sydney Park (“The Walking Dead”) as Caitlin, newcomer Eli Brown as Dylan, Graeme Thomas King (“The Widow”) as Jeremy, Kelly Rutherford (“Gossip Girl”) as Claire, and Hayley Erin (“General Hospital”) in an undisclosed role. In Beacon Heights, a seemingly perfect town, a group of three college friends struggle with the stress of being overachievers. In the aftermath of the town’s first murder, each Perfectionist hides behind a secret, a lie and an alibi. Like its predecessor, “Pretty Little Liars,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, “The Perfectionists” is also based on a popular book series penned by Sara Shepard. “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” is produced by Alloy Entertainment and Long Lake Media, in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television. I. Marlene King (“Pretty Little Liars,” “Famous in Love”) wrote the pilot and serves as executive producer on the series with Charlie Craig (“Pretty Little Liars,” “The 100”), Lisa Cochran-Neilan (“Pretty Little Liars,” “Famous in Love”), Leslie Morgenstein (“Pretty Little Liars,” “The Vampire Diaries”) and Gina Girolamo (“The 100,” “The Originals”). The pilot was directed and executive produced by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum (“Relationship Status”).