Quack! Quack! Quack!
The Mighty Ducks franchise may be coming to the small screen. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that ABC Signature Studios is in early development for a series based on the 1990s dramedy about a youth hockey team. A network is not yet attached.
ABC Signature Studios, the cable- and streaming-focused arm of ABC Studios, declined comment.
Sources tell THR that ABC Signature head Tracy Underwood, always looking to identify Disney titles and intellectual property that can appeal to a global audience, put Mighty Ducks in development after being approached by original trilogy screenwriter Steven Brill and original producer Jordan Kerner. Brill will pen the script in-house for ABC Signature. If that comes in well, ABC Signature would package the project with talent and shop it to streamers this year. Brillstein Entertainment’s George Heller and Brad Petrigala will, like Brill, be credited as executive producers.
Feature film star Emilio Estevez is not currently attached as a script has not yet been written. What remains unclear is if the potential Mighty Ducks TV series is a sequel or reboot as the logline for the half-hour or hour project is being kept under wraps.
Sources stress that the Mighty Ducks TV show is in its early stages and will not be taken out anytime soon. As for a potential home, insiders note that ABC Signature could take the project out to other broadcast or cable networks in addition to shopping it to streaming platforms. (Another option could be to keep it in-house and set it up on Disney’s forthcoming stand-alone SVOD service that will be home to Marvel and Star Wars movies as well as original scripted TV shows based on Star Wars, High School Musical and Monsters, Inc.)
The Mighty Ducks was released in 1992 by Walt Disney Pictures. Produced on a budget of $10 million, the Stephen Herek-directed movie starred Estevez as Gordon Bombay, a Minneapolis attorney who winds up coaching a pee-wee hockey team as community service after a drunk-driving arrest. Despite negative reviews from critics, the film went on to become a box-office hit, grossing $50.7 million domestically. That led to two sequels — 1994’s D2: The Mighty Ducks (with Estevez) and 1996’s D3: The Mighty Ducks, which was built around original film star Josh Jackson’s Charlie Conway. They grossed $45.6 million and $22.9 million, respectively, with the success of the first feature inspiring producers Disney to name Anaheim’s 1993 NHL expansion team after the franchise.
Should the ABC Signature effort come to fruition, it would be the second time The Mighty Ducks has been explored for the small screen. An animated series was launched in 1996 on ABC and as part of its syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon. The 26-episode series last aired on Toon Disney in 2004.
Reboots continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming services look for proven IP in a bid to cut through a cluttered scripted landscape that is expected to top 500 shows in 2019. Key to them is having the original producers attached, which Mighty Ducks has with Brill and Kerner, as well as ownership of the IP.
For its part, ABC Signature’s credits include Freeform’s Marvel drama Cloak and Dagger, FXX’s animated Deadpool show and Showtime’s recently renewed SMILF, among others.
Brill is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Kerner, whose company produced all three features, is with Paradigm.