Thursday, February 06, 2020

Nickelodeon and Imagine Kids+Family Developing Original Live-Action Space Series

Originally published: Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

Original Nickelodeon Press Release:


Daniel Knauf Joins as Series Showrunner, Writer and Executive Producer

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BURBANK, Calif.—June 18, 2019—Nickelodeon and Imagine Kids+Family are partnering to develop the original live-action series, Untitled Space Show (working title). Untitled Space Show will be showrun and written by Daniel Knauf (Carnivร le, The Blacklist) and centers around a group of kids who mistakenly launch into space. The series marks the first project co-produced by Nickelodeon and Imagine Kids+Family. Untitled Space Show will be executive produced by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, Imagine Kids+Family President Stephanie Sperber, and Knauf. The production will be overseen by Shauna Phelan, Senior Vice President, Scripted Content for Nickelodeon and by creative executive Will Davis for Imagine Kids+Family.

In Untitled Space Show, an almost-finished spaceship is about to launch into space with the world’s leading scientists to investigate a mysterious asteroid passing by earth. After a dare gone wrong, a group of kids accidentally launch the ship, putting them in the path of an asteroid. Without any proper training, they embark on a journey of survival using their smarts and friendship as their tools, as their parents watch from back on earth and attempt to guide them to safety.

“Working with Brian, Ron and all the creative voices at Imagine to create this project for Nickelodeon is a dream come true,” said Brian Robbins, President, Nickelodeon. “They have an insatiable love for storytelling and content creation that resonates globally, and we’re excited to explore this new adventure together for kids and families.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Nickelodeon to expand upon Imagine’s legacy telling great stories set in space. Dan’s vision blends real science with compelling storytelling in a way that will engage young audiences around the world,” said Sperber.

Imagine has a rich history telling stories rooted in space adventure including the multiple Academy Award-winning film Apollo 13, the hybrid docuseries Mars for NatGeo, and the Emmy Award-winning series From The Earth To The Moon for HBO. Imagine Kids+Family was started in January of this year by Imagine Entertainment, and is run by Sperber. The division recently announced a partnership James Patterson’s kids division JIMMY Books, and with LIFE to develop LIFE for Kids, an animated series to bring history to life using images from the preeminent picture magazine.

About Imagine Entertainment

Imagine Entertainment was founded in 1986 by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to create independently produced feature films, television programs and other original programming. Imagine’s productions have been honored with more than 60 prestigious awards including 43 Academy Award nominations and 195 Emmy® award nominations. Past productions include the Academy Award Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind, as well as Grammy Award Best Film winner The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years. Additional films include Get on Up, Rush, J. Edgar, Frost/Nixon, American Gangster, The Da Vinci Code, Apollo 13, 8 Mile, Liar, Liar, Backdraft, and Parenthood to name a few. Recent films include The Spy Who Dumped Me staring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon which won of the 2018 People Choice Award for Best Comedy, and the upcoming documentary Pavarotti. Television productions include Fox’s Empire, Shots Fired and the 24 franchise, NatGeo’s Genius anthology series, MARS, and Breakthrough; NBC’s Parenthood and Friday Night Lights; Fox’s and Netflix’s Arrested Development, as well as HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, for which Howard and Grazer won the Emmy® for Outstanding Mini-Series. Current television projects in production include Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu), Swagger (Apple), Why Women Kill (CBS All Access), and Filthy Rich (Fox). Ron Howard and Brian Grazer began their collaboration in 1985 with the hit comedies Night Shift and Splash, and continue to run Imagine Entertainment as chairmen.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).


Update (2/6/2020) - Dean Israelite (Are You Afraid of the Dark? revival miniseries, 2017's Saban's Power Rangers movie) is currently executive producing and directing the first block of an untitled space drama with Ron Howard/Imagine for Nickelodeon!

From Kidscreen:

Nick & Imagine blast off with Untitled Space Show

A focus on realistic characters will make the first co-pro between the kidcaster and Ron Howard's prodco stand out, says Imagine's Stephanie Sperber.

Nickelodeon and Imagine Kids & Family are partnering on the development of the live action series Untitled Space Show (working title).

Executive produced and written by Daniel Knauf (Carnivale, The Blacklist), who will also act as showrunner, the 10 x half-hour series centers around a group of kids who accidentally launch themselves into space. It’s the first co-pro between the two companies, and is targeted at kids six-to-11, according to a Nickelodeon spokesperson.

Untitled Space Show show will be executive produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind), Ron Howard (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and Imagine Kids & Family’s president Stephanie Sperber (pictured).

This is the first time Knauf is tackling a kids show, but both Nickelodeon and Imagine were drawn to his idea because it isn’t over the top or fantastical like a lot of space shows are, Sperber says. This approach will help the show stand out in the kids marketplace, which is crowded with space content, she adds. Instead of featuring big spaceship races or building a whole world of new creatures the story is character-driven and looks at how normal kids deal with surviving on a space station.

“By focusing on the relationships between these characters [Knauf] was able able to write a show for both adults and kids,” says Sperber. “[He] also has a six-year-old kid, so the show is grounded in his experiences with his child and he gets that kid point of view.”

Imagine’s Grazer and Howard met with the CEO of Viacom Bob Bakish, and Brian Robbins, the president of Nickelodeon, at Toy Fair in February and Robbins suggested that the companies work on a show set in space, which is very much in Imagine’s wheelhouse, according to Stephanie. The two companies then developed the original concept and took it to a number of creatives to see what they came up with, and both liked Knauf’s proposal the best.

As big fans of sci-fi, Howard and Grazer already have a roster of space-themed IPs, although most of these have targeted adults. The prodco previously made the Academy Award winning film Apollo 13, NatGeo hybrid docuseries Mars and the HBO series From The Earth To The Moon. Imagine’s documentary division also worked on the partially-scripted “documentary” titled Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10, which tries to solve the mystery of whether Snoopy was an astronaut. The film launched on Apple TV in May.

Imagine’s kids and family division just launched in January with Sperber leading the charge. Her remit includes leading development and production on premium animated and live-action feature films, original TV series and short-form content. Since then, Imagine has been busy partnering with the kids division of bestselling author James Patterson JIMMY Books, and LIFE to develop the animated series LIFE for Kids, which uses picture magazines to bring history to, well, life.


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