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Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is getting a new lease on life at Roku.
The streaming device maker will air a holiday movie based on the canceled NBC series, titled Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, later this year. Production is slated to start later this month in Vancouver.
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is the kind of show that doesn’t just entertain people, it speaks to them,” said Colin Davis, head of original scripted programming at Roku. “The show has a healing power about it, which is brought to life by the incredibly talented cast through music and dance. That connection with the audience is what makes bringing a holiday-themed film like Zoey to life with the original cast so special. We are absolutely thrilled to call Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas our first Roku Original film and make it available to both longtime fans and new ones on the Roku Channel this holiday.”
Series creator Austin Winsberg will write the movie, and Richard Shepard, who directed the show’s pilot, will return to helm the film. The show’s regular cast, headed by Jane Levy, will all reprise their roles.
“I am so extremely grateful to the Roku Channel for helping us get Zoey to sing again. I can’t think of a more appropriate time to hear someone’s heart song than the holidays,” said Winsberg. “And Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas will be an opportunity to provide the fans and new viewers alike a chance to all tap their toes and get in the holiday mood. This show has always been about empathy, compassion and the triumph of the human spirit. The Roku Channel has sure lifted mine and I hope that our film can have the same effect on viewers everywhere.”
The Hollywood Reporter reported in August that Lionsgate Television, which produces the series, had been in advanced negotiations with Roku — which is making a push into original content — for the movie based on the cult show.
“The fans were passionate and unwavering in their support, and their perseverance paid off. There’s no better encore than a Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist movie on Roku available to stream for the holidays,” said Scott Herbst, executive vp Television and head of development and Lee Hollin, executive vp and head of current programming at Lionsgate. “We’re proud to partner with the Roku Channel in bringing compelling, original programming to their fast-growing and engaged audiences. Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas is a continuation of our beloved story and Roku is the perfect home for it.”
NBC canceled Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist in June after two seasons. Lionsgate explored moving the musical dramedy to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform, but the two sides couldn’t come to terms. Any such move would have required new deals to be completed for things like streaming rights (which Hulu currently holds) and likely were a big factor in the discussions.
The deal marks another step into original programming for Roku. The streaming company acquired the library of short-form streamer Quibi earlier this year, rebranding those shows as Roku Originals. The company also bought the library and production studio for venerable home improvement series This Old House, which includes 1,500 episodes’ worth of past shows and rights to stream new episodes of the series and companion show Ask This Old House after they air on PBS.
Winsberg will executive produce the movie with Kim Tannenbaum, Eric Tannenbaum, Paul Feig, David Blackman and Daniel Inkeles. Dan Magnante, Jason Wang and Mandy Moore will serve as co-executive producers, with Michele Greco as producer and Sam Laybourne and Samantha McIntyre as consulting producers.
Sept. 8, 6:40 a.m. Updated throughout with news of the movie’s official greenlight.
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