It seems like a no-brainer. ’90s and 2000s kids grew up inhaling Lizzie McGuire, the Disney Channel original series about the titular teenage girl played iconically by Hilary Duff. A Disney+ reboot, following McGuire in her 30s (just like the kids who grew up watching her), would crush the streaming game — especially if you bring back original showrunner Terri Minsky. Right? Well, per Variety… wrong.
Disney+ did indeed greenlight, and begin production, on a Lizzie McGuire revival series starring Duff and shepherded by Minsky. This new show would focus on an adult McGuire, and thus have a more adult tone and more adult subject matters. Disney executives were onboard with Minsky and Duff’s take from the jump, knowing this is what they were getting into when they began the show. But then, after two episodes completed shooting, things went haywire.
Minsky was fired abruptly in January (apparently, she found out about it not through Disney but through reading about it in the trades), and production ground to an abrupt halt. Disney began searching for her replacement, eager to quelch any bad publicity or rumor that this meant the show was stopping: “We paused production on ‘Lizzie McGuire’ a few weeks ago to allow time for some creative re-development. Our goal is to resume production and to tell an authentic story that connects to the millions who are emotionally invested in the character, and a new generation of viewers too.” But Minsky had a different perspective, saying:
I am so proud of the two episodes we did. 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.
“That treatment of going to Hulu” might be a comment about the recent move of a Love, Simon series from Disney+ to Hulu, after Disney believed it wasn’t family-friendly enough for their nameship series (the politics of a nice LGBTQ+ series being not “family-friendly” are worthy of a separate article on its own). And while Duff herself hasn’t officially commented on her revival series, she did screenshot an article about the Love, Simon move, circled “family-friendly,” and wrote “Sounds familiar” on her Instagram story.
Currently, she, the rest of the returning cast, and the rest of Minsky’s writing staff are in limbo as they await the fate of the series — which, despite all the writing on the wall, has not officially been scrapped or moved. I, for one, think it’s pretty despicable of the Mouse House to greenlight a show based on a creative vision, see episodes based on that same creative vision, and then pull the plug on that same creative vision they’ve been understanding this entire time. But I’m sure a McGuire-in-her-30s would put this all a lot more eloquently.