EXCLUSIVE: HBO Max has opted not to renew 1980s coming-of-age comedy series Gordita Chronicles for a second season. The decision comes a little over a month after the show launched on the platform to strong reviews amid a programming shift at the Warner Bros. Discovery streamer.
“Live-action kids and family programming will not be part of our programming focus in the immediate future, and as a result, we’ve had to make the very difficult decision to end Gordita Chronicles at HBO Max,” a spokesperson for the streamer said in a statement to Deadline. “The series earned critical acclaim and a loyal following, and we are proud to have worked with creator Claudia Forestieri and our two powerhouse executive producers, Eva Longoria — who also masterfully directed the pilot — and Zoe Saldaña, to bring Cucu’s journey to the screen. We thank them and the talented cast and crew for creating such a heartfelt, groundbreaking show that connected deeply with a very important demographic.”
Gordita Chronicles is a rare streaming series reflecting authentically the experiences of the Latino community in the U.S., and the studio behind it, Sony Pictures Television, plans to shop it elsewhere as it did with One Day at a Time following its cancellation by Netflix. The Latinx family comedy found a new home at Pop and CBS and ran for another season.
“We are heartbroken by the larger programming changes at HBO Max that will not allow our special show that is Gordita Chronicles, showrun by LatinX comedy powerhouse Brigitte Muñoz-Liebowitz, to have a second season at its original home,” the series’ executive producers Longoria and Saldaña said in a statement. “As producers and storytellers who are continually seeking out the authentic and original stories that highlight our community’s joy and talent, we are so proud to have worked on this piece of magic. We continue to be blown away by the overwhelmingly positive critical response coupled with our growing audience numbers, which prove that viewers recognize the importance of this show’s existence and the crucial space it is filling for LatinX content in the media landscape.”
HBO Max only recently entered the live-action family entertainment arena with the Head of the Class reboot, which was canceled after one season, Gordita Chronicles as well as Theodosia, whose fate is unclear. The slate has been overseen by Jennifer O’Connell EVP Original Non Fiction & Live Action Family.
This is one of many programming changes made by WarnerMedia outlets following the company’s acquisition by Discovery, which was completed in April. It has included a pullback in original scripted series for the TNets. The future of O’Connell’s non-fiction portfolio also is under question post-acquisition as Warner Bros. Discovery plans ultimately to merge HBO Max with Discovery’s non-fiction streamer Discovery+.
As a precursor to the programming shift and amid the uncertainty, I hear HBO Max recently stopped taking new pitches for live-action kids/family and unscripted programming.
As HBO Max’s statement indicates, the pause in live-action kids and family programming is “for the immediate future.” Long-term, the streamer likely will find its way back into the arena, at least for specific projects. Warner Bros. Discovery owns one of the biggest global kids/family IPs in Harry Potter, and, while there is nothing imminent, the company brass have indicated their desire to eventually launch a Harry Potter series on HBO Max.
Live-action kids/family programming has been challenging for most streamers, with Netflix’s efforts in the genre also mostly short-lived, including The Babysitters Club, Julie and the Phantoms, Alexa and Katie and Raising Dion. Even family entertainment leader Disney’s flagship platform, Disney+, has had a mixed record beyond Star Wars and Marvel titles, with Turner & Hooch and Diary of a Future President among the shows that didn’t last.
Created by Forestieri based on her real-life childhood experiences, Gordita Chronicles is about family, opportunity, love, resilience and boldly defying the status quo in pursuit of the “American Dream.” It tells the story of Cucu “Gordita” Castelli, who has just said goodbye to all of her friends and family in Santo Domingo and moved to Miami with her marketing executive father Víctor, bold and vivacious mother Adela, and status-obsessed older sister Emilia. While life in America is far from what they imagined, the Castellis are determined to take charge of their strange new world.
The series from Sony Pictures Television stars Olivia Goncalves, Diana Maria Riva, Juan Javier Cardenas, Savannah Nicole Ruiz, Noah Rico, Cosette Hauer and Dascha Polanco.
Forestieri wrote the pilot and serves as executive producer. Josh Berman executive produces alongside Jennifer Robinson and Chris King of SPT-based Osprey Productions. Showrunner Brigitte Munoz-Liebowitz executive produces for Bons Mots Emporium. Eva Longoria directed the pilot and serves as executive producer for UnbeliEVAble Entertainment. Zoe Saldaña, Mariel Saldana and Cisely Saldaña are executive producers for Cinestar Pictures.
Berman, Forestieri and Munoz-Liebowitz all have overall deals at SPT.
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