Upfronts 2016: Freeform Ventures Into Late Night

Soapy drama ‘Famous in Love’ comes from ‘Pretty Little Liars’ exec producer
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Freeform will try its hand in the growing late-night daypart, developing a weekly half-hour variety show called Alice that focuses on short-form content. Also in development is another half-hour, late-night concept, a talker called Later Bitches that features a pair of Daily Show producers at the wheel.

In other firsts, Freeform is venturing into comic book territory with Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, a superhero love story series, and will debut a live summer event called Freeform Fest.

Freeform unveils its plans at an upfront gathering in New York April 7. Summer dramas include Dead of Summer from Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, the minds behind Once Upon a Time; Guilt, from Lionsgate TV and Thunderbird Films; and docuseries Cheer Squad.

Returnees Young & Hungry and Baby Daddy roll June 1. Guilt debuts June 13, The Fosters June 20, a supersized Pretty Little Liars June 21, and Dead of Summer June 28. Cheer Squad premieres August 22.

Nearer term, Monica the Medium debuts its second season April 25. Further out, sci fi series Beyond, about a man waking up from a coma after 12 years, and unscripted relationship show The Letter debut in 2017, when veteran drama Switched at Birth ends its five-season run.

Freeform has also picked up the soapy drama Famous in Love, from I. Marlene King, exec producer of Pretty Little Liars, as well as Issues from Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles.

The former ABC Family channel relaunched as Freeform in January.

The Freeform Fest, in summer 2017, will bring together fans and talent to celebrate TV, music, art, comedy and other aspects of popular culture.

“Freeform is a brand built for the fresh taste of a modern generation who value open-mindedness, fluidity, immediacy and who don’t like to be fenced in,” said Tom Ascheim, Freeform president. “As we continue to evolve and deliver on our brand promise, it’s important that we put our audience at the center of everything we do and connect with them in all the places they are and in the ways they prefer–on our cable network, in the digital space and with ‘Freeform Fest’ IRL (in real life).”

In terms of movie stunts, Freeform debuts “Man Crush Movie Week” this month, while “Harry Potter’s Birthday” July 31 celebrates that landmark date in young adult literature.

Jumping ahead to the holidays, the network will premiere the latest installment in the Cinderella Story films, A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits.

Later Bitches comes from Daily Show producers Jennifer Flanz and Elise Terrell.

Freeform is also developing pair of one-hour documentaries focused on defining pop culture moments—Freeform Presents: Snapshot comes from the producers of 30 for 30 and ESPN Films.

New scripted series development includes: Rising from Selena Gomez; Young & Hungry spinoff Nine Years Under; Misfits from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage; Alone Together from The Lonely Island humor trio; Made in LA and Hunted from Mila Kunis; Lore from McG; Paige One from actress Elizabeth Banks; mermaid thriller The Deep; and New People from Joel Silver and Lionsgate.

Original movies in development include Angry Angel, along with a holiday picture reuniting the characters from Greek.

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