Tracee Ellis Ross To Star & Exec Produce ‘Daria’ Spinoff From MTV Studios

Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Salangsang/Variety/Shutterstock (10256158bt) Tracee Ellis Ross 'Late Night' Film Premiere, Arrivals, The Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, USA - 30 May 2019
John Salangsang/Variety/Shutterstock

Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross is set to star in and executive produce adult animated comedy Jodie, the first in a series of spinoffs based on MTV’s iconic Daria franchise. Ross will voice the title character, Jodie.

Daria, which ran for five seasons (1997-2002), came out of MTV’s Beavis and Butthead based on the widespread appeal of the Daria Morgendorffer character whose wry wisdom was beyond her high school years. Daria was hailed for her feminist take on key issues such as class, race and gender.

Created and written by Grace Nkenge Edwards (Insecure), Jodie will be centered around fan favorite and Daria’s good friend Jodie Landon (voiced by Ross), an African American character from the original series credited with helping to shape a generation of women. Jodie will follow her as she comes into her own and enters the workplace in her first post-college job in tech. Other former students of Lawndale High will also appear.

What Daria did for exploring the inanity of high school, Jodie will do for exploring the trials and tribulations of a first job. Jodie will satirize workplace culture, Gen Z struggles, the artifice of social media and more. With themes of empowerment across gender and racial lines, explorations of privilege, and a wicked sense of humor, Jodie marks the first adult animated sitcom to center around an African American female lead in nearly two decades.

Jodie was among several series on MTV Studios’ initial slate announced shortly after its launch last year. The slate also includes update of the Emmy-winning coming-of-age unscripted series Made as well as recently reported live-action remake of MTV’s animated sci-fi series Aeon Flux, from Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis; and a return of the network’s groundbreaking reality series The Real World with Bunim/Murray Productions.

“I am thrilled to bring this project to life with MTV, both as executive producer and by voicing Jodie’s character,” said Ross. “Being able to give voice to fresh, feminist and unexplored stories of young women excites me. ‘Jodie,’ will spin-off from the cult classic ‘Daria,’ and with the brilliant, sweet and sarcastic black girl magic that is Jodie Landon, we will feature a diverse cast, comprised mainly of unapologetically smart and ambitious young female characters who are vulnerable and flawed and interesting and funny. As a very cool bonus, ‘Jodie’ will be the first adult animated show in almost 20 years that will star a black woman. It will be a smart, funny workplace comedy full of commentary about everything from gentrification to sex to tech to call-out culture.”

“Given the passion for these characters, there was only one person who could build upon the legacy to reimagine Jodie for a whole new generation, and that person is Tracee Ellis Ross,” said Chris McCarthy president of MTV. “This marks another exciting step forward for MTV Studios as we build out a wide new slate based on the rich characters from the history in MTV Animation.”

MTV’s Trevor Rose, Morgana Rosenberg and Amy Doyle will executive produce.

Edwards currently is writer/co-producer for the critically-acclaimed HBO series Insecure. Additional credits include multiple seasons on the Emmy-nominated comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Inside Amy Schumer.

Best known for her role as Rainbow Johnson on ABC’s multi-award-winning comedy series Black-ish, Ross also is executive producing new Black-ish spinoff Mixed-ish, which focuses on Rainbow’s (Ross) experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ‘80s.

Ross earned Emmy nominations in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Critics Choice Award nominations in 2016 and 2017 for her Rainbow role. In 2018, she became the first black woman to open the annual TED Conference and she is a co-founding signatory of the Times’s Up movement.

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