lizzie mcguire revival stalled

Lizzie McGuire has a case of Peter Pan syndrome: Disney won’t let her grow up. The Disney+ revival of the beloved early 2000s Disney Channel comedy series Lizzie McGuire was set to debut on the streaming service with star Hilary Duff on board and enthusiastic about exploring her sassy, fourth wall-breaking character as a 30-something New Yorker.

But then things suddenly ground to a halt for the Lizzie McGuire revival, with original series creator and revival showrunner Terri Minsky fired after two episodes and production stalled. So what happened, exactly? While there’s no official word yet from Disney or Minsky, Duff has been hinting on social media that the problem lies with Disney+ and its “family-friendly” mission statement.

Disney+ received some criticism online for moving the planned Love, Simon spin-off series, a teen dramedy about a high schooler coming to terms with his sexuality, to Hulu after it was deemed not “family-friendly” enough for the Disney-branded streaming service. And Hilary Duff was one of those to criticize the decision, not-so-subtly suggesting that the same fate befell her Lizzie McGuire revival. On Tuesday night, Duff posted a screenshot of the Love, Simon news on her Instagram story, circling the words “family-friendly” in the headline and writing above it, “Sounds familiar.”

The message from Duff is clear: Lizzie McGuire was also deemed not “family-friendly” enough for Disney+, leading to Minsky’s firing and the show getting put on hold. In a new report, Variety cites unnamed sources that say that Duff was not happy with Disney for firing Minsky who, alongside Duff, wanted to do a “more adult version of Lizzie” for the revival series. Variety writes:

The two women wanted to do a more adult version of Lizzie for the revival, while Disney wants a show that would appeal to kids and families, something more akin to the original series. Sources say that Disney was initially onboard with Minsky and Duff’s take from the time they pitched it to filming, during which time executives from Disney were onset and were aware of the type of content that would be featured in the show.

This creative choice makes sense, as Duff, at 32 years old, is very much an adult and should be able to explore adult topics in a Lizzie McGuire series. Let Lizzie have sex, cry at work, have existential crises. The series premise, which follows Lizzie as an assistant to a fancy New York City decorator, seemed to have that potential of following a young adult making her way in the world. The series can’t feasibly make a return to the wacky middle school shenanigans of the original Disney Channel series, which starred Duff at 13. And the audience who grew up on Lizzie McGuire likely won’t want more of the same — the demographics who are actually interested in the series will be 30-somethings looking for that hit of nostalgia, not the younger audiences who (like Billie Eilish) have no idea who Lizzie McGuire is.

For now, Lizzie McGuire isn’t cancelled, but the series as Minsky and Duff envisioned it is in question as Disney+ figures out how to potentially rework the series for a “family-friendly” audience.

“I am so proud of the two episodes we did,” Minsky told Variety in an interview. “Hilary has a grasp of Lizzie McGuire at 30 that needs to be seen. It’s a wonderful thing to watch. I would love the show to exist, but ideally I would love it if it could be given that treatment of going to Hulu and doing the show that we were doing. That’s the part where I am completely in the dark. It’s important to me that this show was important to people. I felt like I wanted to do a show that was worthy of that kind of devotion.”

At this point, just move Lizzie McGuire to Hulu. That’s what our dreams are made of: seeing Lizzie McGuire get to grow up.

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