Disney Branded Television is expanding its development slate with three new projects — Paolo Santiago and the River of Tears, a live action original series based on the novel, from Eva Longoria for Disney+; Tiny Trailblazers, an original animated series from Reese Witherspoon, who also will star, for Disney Junior; and Superfudge, an original animated movie based on the book, from The Russo Bros for Disney+. The projects were announced Monday as part of Disney Branded Television’s Winter TCA presentation.
Disney+ has put in development Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, a live action original series based on Tehlor Kay Mejia’s critically claimed novel, from writer Kevin Rodriguez, Eva Longoria’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, and 20th Television.
Written by Rodriguez, Paola Santiaga and the River of Tears is a fantasy/adventure television series based on the novel and published by Disney-Hyperion under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. Inspired by the legend of La Llorona (the Weeping Woman), the story introduces a teen girl, Paola Santiago, who has always relied on hard science and logic to make sense of the world, unlike her mother, who believes in magic. But folklore becomes fact when Paola’s best friend goes missing, and to save her, Paola has to enter a world of mind-bending monsters and relentless spirits steeped in Latin folklore that defy both logic and legend.
Rodriguez executive produces with Longoria and Ben Spector for UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Mejia. 20th Television is the studio.
Disney Junior is developing Tiny Trailblazers, an animated Original Series, produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine with Disney Junior.
Geared towards kids aged 2-7, the entertaining stories model positive attitudes about the great outdoors and highlight the importance of environmental conservation and wildlife protection. Partners from National Geographic are consulting on the project.
Witherspoon (Little Fires Everywhere, The Morning Show) serves as executive producer and will voice one of the mom characters, Fern, a wildlife specialist. The main characters are two girls, an adventurous city kid named Tilly and the more risk-averse Birdie, who befriends her when Tilly’s family moves to a campground while her scientist mom is doing field research on forest streams. As the girls observe their mother’s careers and interests and begin to explore and discover the magic of nature all around them, they develop a supportive friendship and a deep understanding of and appreciation for the natural world. The series also highlights age-appropriate social and emotional lessons about thoughtfulness, self-esteem, good instincts and trying new things.
Claire Curley also executive produces with Witherspoon.
Disney+ also has put in development Superfudge, an animated movie based on Judy Blume’s bestselling book from Joe and Anthony Russo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Written by Amos Vernon and Nunzio Randazzo, Superfudge centers on The Hatcher family. Twelve-year-old Peter Hatcher almost has it all — two boomer parents, a perfect though slightly odorous turtle, his very own bedroom in a cramped Manhattan apartment, a ride-or-die best friend Jimmy and eight whole weeks of summer vacation ahead of him — with just one massive problem. Farley Drexel Hatcher, his 3-year-old brother, aka Fudge. Fudge isn’t just a problem; he is a tornado, a tsunami, a superstorm, an arctic bomb of chaos and destruction. And when Fudge runs away under Peter’s watch, an epic family adventure across NYC ensues. One that ultimately brings these two together just as their world is turned upside down by the arrival of a brand-new problem — an infant baby sister — reminding us all that nothing is ever constant … except change.
Superfudge is produced by The Russo Brothers’ AGBO.