9:45am PT by Kate Stanhope
Fox Sets 'Ice Age' Easter Special With 'Empire,' 'Family Guy' Talent (Exclusive)
There's a cold front headed for Fox's primetime schedule.
The network is tapping into its sister film studio's Ice Age animated film franchise for a new primetime special, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
And the corporate synergy doesn't stop there. Network stars Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Seth Green (Family Guy), Josh Peck (Grandfathered) and Wendy Williams (whose daytime talker hails from 20th Television's syndication arm) will lend their voices to the half-hour installment, joining the original film franchise cast of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Keke Palmer and Queen Latifah.
Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade centers on harried prehistoric bird mom Ethel (Henson), who entrusts her precious, soon-to-hatch egg to Sid (Leguizamo). When she recommends him to her neighbors — a condor mom (Williams), Cholly Bear (Gabriel Iglesias) and Gladys Glypto (Lili Estefan) — business booms at his new egg-sitting service. However, dastardly pirate bunny Squint (Green), who is seeking revenge on the Ice Age gang, steals, camouflages and hides all the eggs. Once again, with Squint’s twin brother, Clint (Workaholics star Blake Anderson), assisting, Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary) and the rest of the gang come to the rescue and take off on a daring mission that turns into the world’s first Easter egg hunt.
The Easter-centric half-hour will air on Palm Sunday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. and lead into Fox's biblical musical The Passion, which will air live from New Orleans. The special will also be available on Digital HD the day after broadcast at iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Video, Sony Playstation Store, Microsoft Movies & TV and MGo.
Lori Forte, Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha will exec produce and John C. Donkin will produce. Jim Hecht penned the script and Ricardo Curtis is on board to direct the special, which hails from Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios.
Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade will also offer a first look at the forthcoming fifth installment in the franchise, Ice Age: Collision Course, which hits theaters on July 22. The first four films have raked in a combined $2.8 billion at the worldwide box office. This is also the second time the franchise has come to the small screen. Fox previously aired a Christmas-themed Ice Age special in 2011.
Fox is hardly the only network to borrow from its film studio for primetime specials. ABC has a Frozen Christmas special in the works from parent company Disney slated for 2017.