A little less than two weeks after Lizzie McGuire star Hilary Duff took to Instagram to make sure we were all crystal clear on how she felt when it came to which streamer she wanted the sequel series to stream on (hint: rhymes with "hulu"), we're learning more behind-the-scenes details on what's lead to the stand-off.
In a profile piece from The Hollywood Reporter's Natalie Jarvey focusing on Disney's ex-CEO Bob Iger, the theme was based around the expectation that he will take a hands-on role to organizing and streamlining Disney+ heading into an all-important Fall 2020 programming season.
Referencing both Zoë Kravitz's High Fidelity as well as Love, Simon spinoff series Love, Victor as examples of shows that were moved to Hulu from Disney+ due to their more mature subject matter, the THR report reveals that they've read the script for the first episode and that sex and cheating are two central plot points.
Is the "Lizzie McGuire" brand just a bridge too far for Disney+ to lose Hulu? It was no secret that series creator Terri Minsky and Duff were looking to do a more adult-oriented series, while Disney was looking for a modern family-friendly tone that fit the streaming service's "no higher than PG-13" approach.
Almost a month after Lizzie McGuire creator Terri Minsky and Disney+ had a parting of the ways over the revival series' creative direction and production on the series was put on hiatus, we're hearing directly from series star Hilary Duff on the matter. Taking to Instagram on Friday night, Duff made sure there was no confusion where he would like to see "Lizzie" living next – and that neighborhood's named Hulu:
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"I'd be doing a disservice to everyone by limiting the realities of a 30 year old's journey to live under the ceiling of a PG rating. It's important to me that just as her experiences as a preteen/teenager navigating life were authentic, her next chapters are equally as real and relatable. It would be a dream if Disney would let us move the show to Hulu, if they were interested, and I could bring this beloved character to life again."
Variety writer Joe Otterson offered a look behind the scenes on what's being on (and wrong) with the revival – here are some highlights from the article:
● Duff's interest in going for a more "adult" return to the character was evident in an Instagram story she posted regarding the move of Love, Victor to Hulu with the words "family-friendly" circled (should be able to still see it here).
● Speaking with Variety after "parting ways" with Disney+, Minsky praised Duff's older, more mature portrayal of Lizzie McGuire – so much so that a move to Hulu was welcomed:
"I am so proud of the two episodes we did. 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."
● Sources in the Variety report state that the streaming service, Minsky, and Duff were all on the same page regarding the creative approach to the new series and what it would include.
● While Minsky would not comment on how she learned about her firing and production being suspended, it's being reported that she, her writing staff, the production team, and Duff only learned of the show's status after the initial Variety report went to post (with Variety having reached out to "The Mouse" before going live). Duff was on her honeymoon in Mozambique with new husband Matthew Koma when she learned the news.
● Original series cast members Adam Lamberg, Hallie Todd, Robert Carradine, and Jake Thomas — along with writers and production staff – are awaiting a decision on the show's future. A search for a replacement showrunner is reportedly underway – though it remains to be seen if one can be found who can walk the high wire between Duff's vision and "The Mouse's" take.
● A Disney spokesperson denied that the series was in danger of being cancelled even before it hits the streamer, saying in a statement:
"We paused production on 'Lizzie McGuire' a few weeks ago to allow time for some creative re-development. 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."
Having created the original series, Minsky was set to serve as showrunner and executive producer, with Duff and Rachel Winter also executive producing. Ranada Shepard was set to co-executive produce the series, produced by Salty Pictures, Inc. in association with Disney Channel.