The series, which is based on Trenton Lee Stewart’s best-selling YA books, originally was developed for Hulu but will now premiere on Disney’s streaming service in 2021.
It marks the first example of a show moving in that direction, though titles such as High Fidelity and Love, Victor have previously moved in the other direction.
The decision appears to be related to the tone of the content. Dana Walden, chairman of Entertainment at Walt Disney Television, said Mysterious Benedict Society is “fun for the whole family” and calling it a “perfect fit” for Disney+.
This comes after Walden was handed a new title earlier this week as part of a restructure at the media conglomerate that saw it separate content creation and distribution. Walden oversees development and production operations of Disney TV Studios, Hulu Originals, ABC Entertainment and Freeform.
The eight-part Mysterious Benedict Society, which is produced by 20th Television, part of Disney TV Studios, and is currently shooting in Vancouver, stars Hale as the eponymous character, Kristen Schaal, Ryan Hurst, MaameYaa Boafo, Gia Sandhu, Seth Carr, Emmy DeOliveira, Mystic Inscho and Marta Timofeeva.
Placed undercover at a boarding school known as The Institute, a group of orphans must foil a nefarious plot with global ramifications while creating a new sort of family along the way. The original book, written by Stewart and illustrated by Carson Ellis, was published by Little, Brown and Company in 2007 and featured a slew of sequels.
The show was created and written by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay with Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin as showrunners. They exec produce alongside Jamie Tarses, Karen Kehela Sherwood and Sonar Entertainment. James Bobin directed the pilot episode and will also exec produce.
“The Mysterious Benedict Society is a beautifully executed adaptation of the celebrated and beloved book series,” Walden said. “It’s original, clever and fun for the whole family, which makes it the perfect fit for Disney+. One of the great benefits to creators working with our company is that we have a platform that’s right for every series, and having seen the first few episodes of this show, there is no better home for it than Disney+.”
Added Ricky Strauss, president, Programming and Content Curation, Disney+ and Hulu: “Disney+ has established itself over the last year as the streaming home for a diverse slate of high-quality content featuring beloved franchises, stories and characters. We’re thrilled to add The Mysterious Benedict Society to Disney+ and know it will captivate our viewers’ imagination with exciting new worlds and capture the hearts of audiences of all ages.”
Manfredi and Hay said: “We are so thrilled that Disney+ will be the home for our show. What a great place to be. It’s a beautiful thing to feel as supported and inspired as we have, every step of the way, by our entire team at 20th, Hulu and the Disney family; and we are honored and gratified by the belief in the show this represents. From the moment Jamie and Karen brought us these fantastic books, through our collaboration with Todd, Darren, Tony and our amazing cast and crew, we’ve felt very lucky. Certainly feeling that way today.”
Noted Slavkin and Swimmer: “We’re excited to help bring Trenton Lee Stewart’s wonderful book and Matt and Phil’s exquisite adaption to Disney+. It is the perfect platform for the Mysterious Benedict Society and we can’t wait for the world to see this show.”