Freeform has announced its first original animated series. The basic cable channel that brought us Good Trouble and Cruel Summer (and The Fosters and Pretty Little Liars when it was ABC Family) is veering into animated content for young adults with Praise Petey and two other animated shows that are currently in development.
Created by four-time Emmy nominee Anna Drezen (Saturday Night Live, Girls5eva), Praise Petey follows a New York City “it-girl” who sees her world crumble down when she least expects it. Her salvation comes in an extremely unexpected way: a gift from her father makes her realize she can put her makeover hat on and modernize a small-town cult, because why not? Production starts in early 2022.
The full main voice cast was announced along with the new series: it-girl Petey will be played by Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy, and yes, it’s a perfect match. Joining Murphy is Cowboy Bebop’s John Cho. He will play a man who was born and raised into the cult that Petey will modernize, and may end up falling for her. The ludicrous cult leader who is also Petey’s father will be played by Stephen Root (Perry Mason), while Christine Baranski (The Good Fight) will play Petey’s mother – an overbearing magazine editor who abhors ketchup.
Transparent’s Kiersey Clemons is Eliza, Petey’s BFF who starts sharing her bartending duties with helping Petey at the cult when her friend calls her. Last but not least, Amy Hill (Magnum P.I.) will play a lovely Southern lady who just happens to be the second in command of the cult led by Petey’s father.
The incredibly talented cast is working together with executive producers with a keen eye for comedy: Praise Petey is being brought to life by Mike Judge (Silicon Valley), Greg Daniels (The Office), Dustin Davis (black-ish), Alex Bulkley (BoJack Horseman), and Corey Campodonico (Robot Chicken).
When talking about the new series, executive vice president of programming and development for Freeform Jamila Hunter praised series creator Drezen and told Variety the importance of leading the way of animation with a female protagonist:
“Anna Drezen’s comedic voice and her POV on life and pop culture are perfect for Freeform. Entering the animation space in partnership with prolific creators like Mike, Greg, Anna, Monica and Dustin is like arriving at a party with the coolest kids in town. We can’t wait to share their hilarious show with our audience. […] It felt like such a loud way to get into animation with a female protagonist, which you don’t often see in the animation space. It does tend to be a little bit more male dominated. Putting the people that are often on the fringes in the leading seat and letting them be drivers of comedy and have funny experiences is very much what we at Freeform are about and that’s what our audience wants from us.”
The other two animated shows being developed by Freeform are Tiffany Hadish-produced SupaShawty Girls, a series that follows two twin college students who are accidentally turned into superheroes, and Wallflower, which follows a 20-something and quick-witted introvert who is able to communicate with her houseplants AKA all of us.
Freeform is yet to reveal a release date to Praise Petey.