EXCLUSIVE: Freeform will not proceed with its straight-to-series order to multi-camera comedy Unrelated, which was fully cast and heading into production. Instead, the project, from Kenya Barris, Ranada Shepard and ABC Signature will go into redevelopment at the cable network.
Unrelated (formerly known as Besties) has had a complicated road to the screen so far. It was a surprising straight-to-series order off of a pitch announced at the 2018 ABC/Freeform upfront as Barris was leaving Disney for a deal at Netflix. As a result, The Real O’Neals co-creators Casey Johnson and David Windsor were brought in to co-create, write and executive produce the series alongside original co-creator/executive producer Shepard through ABC Signature, the cable/streaming division of ABC Studios, part of Disney TV Studios. Like he does with all of his existing series, including hit Grown-ish on Freeform, Black-ish and the upcoming Mixed-ish on ABC, Barris remained creatively involved and continued as an executive producer.
In February, Unrelated assembled a cast that included Jordin Sparks, Matt Shively, Kris D. Lofton, Gigi Zumbado, Jessika Van and Davi Santos. Then in early April, Aeysha Carr was brought in as new showrunner, replacing Johnson and Windsor, for a creative direction correction.
The network, which in late April appointed comedy veteran Lauren Corrao as head of original programming, is now going back to the drawing board and will be looking for a fresh take on the concept, with a new showrunner to join Shepard.
Set in Los Angeles, the series was to follow Becca and her newly discovered half-sister Jesi as they’re thrown into each other’s lives by an online genetics test and have to figure out how to go from strangers to sisters.
Unrelated’s executive producers most recently included Barris, Shepard, Johnson, Windsor, Carr and Randall Winston.