Freeform Upfront 2018: Everything You Need to Know

Mermaids, Liars, and Holiday Magic Ahead


Today in New York, Freeform President Tom Ascheim and Executive Vice President of Programming and Development Karey Burke unveiled new and returning projects for the network.

Freeform continues to dominate the young adult landscape in cable with the #1 comedy (grown-ish) and the #1 new drama (Siren) with young adults and holds the #2 slot with women 18-34 and women 12-17. Also claiming the title of #1 most social cable network for the 7th year in a row and the #1 network in digital viewing, Freeform is delivering on its new tagline “A Little Forward.”

Freeform continues to build its roster of quality programming that speaks to the young adult consumer who has embraced its authenticity, evident in recent multi-platform hits grown-ish, Siren and the critically acclaimed The Bold Type. In addition to strong female representation on-screen, the network champions and has built an impressive, inclusive roster behind the scenes. Half of Freeform’s episodic directors are female, diverse, or LGBTQ, 60% of series writers are female or diverse, and every original series on the network has a female producer. The network also boasts placement as #1 in digital viewing, a #5 entertainment network and the most social cable network for the seventh year in a row.

“In the past year, our commitment to quality has been reflected back to us with a rousing chorus of critical and fan acclaim,” says Ascheim. “Our young adult audience is the most important and influential generation in America and we want to be right there with them every step of the way.” Adds Burke, “We like changing the narrative at Freeform and are proud that our original programming resonates so strongly with this audience. We are grateful to all of our series creators who share our focus on challenging the status quo and telling stories with meaning.”

We're getting another comedy from Kenya Barris.

Besties, a half-hour multi-camera comedy from co-creators Kenya Barris and Ranada Shepard has been ordered to series by Freeform following the enormous success of Barris’s breakout coming-of-age show, grown-ish, the #1 cable comedy season-to-date (women 18-34.) This multi-cam sitcom explores friendship, identity, race, and class as two lifelong best friends use each other to get through some of the toughest challenges that they will ever face – figuring out who they are and who they want to be. Kenya Barris and Ranada Shepard are executive producers; the series is produced by ABC Signature Studios.

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists is officially happening.

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I. Marlene King will expand the universe of Pretty Little Liars with a 10-episode series order for Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, featuring returning fan favorites Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pierterse) and Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) and starring Sofia Carson (Disney’s Descendants) as Ava Jalali. The drama also welcomes Sydney Park, newcomer Eli Brown, Kelly Rutherford, and Hayley Erin. In Beacon Heights, a seemingly perfect town, a group of three college friends struggle with the stress of being overachievers. In the aftermath of the town’s first murder, each Perfectionist hides behind a secret, a lie, and an alibi.

See the trailer here now!

Siren swims into season two.

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Following the news of Siren’s premiere as the #1 new cable drama with young women (18-34 and 12-34), Freeform announced a second season pickup for the mermaid thriller, whose season one finale airs Thursday, May 24th. Siren is an epic tale about the coastal town of Bristol Cove, known for its legend of once being home to mermaids. The arrival of a mysterious girl, Ryn (Eline Powell), wreaks havoc on the small fishing town as she proves the folklore true. Using their resources, marine biologists Ben (Alex Roe) and Maddie (Fola Evans-Akingbola) must work together to find out who and what drove this primal hunter of the deep sea to land and if there are more like her. Xander (Ian Verdun) is a deep sea fisherman looking to uncover the truth, and Helen (Rena Owen), is the town eccentric who knows more than she lets on.

13 Nights of Halloween is becoming 31 Nights of Halloween.

Freeform is expanding its holiday dominance by beginning the holidays early on Oct 1st with 31 Nights of Halloween.

Decorating Disney: Halloween is coming! From the executive producers of the Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings series, Ann Lewis Roberts, Simon Lythgoe and Jenny Daly, this behind-the-scenes special will reveal all the tricks and treats behind the transformation of the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts into the scariest, yet still magical, places on Earth.

Freeform will continue the spooktacular festivities with a celebration for one of the most beloved Halloween movies with the Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Extravaganza.

And the iconic 25 Days of Christmas returns with two new original movies.

Two original holiday films from Freeform, Life Size 2 and Sleeping Together, will also be part of the holiday lineup. In the former, Tyra Banks, who will also executive produce, reprises her iconic role as a doll that comes to life; but in the sequel Eve has grown up. This time she’s magically awakened to help a young woman learn to live and love again. Along the way, Eve experiences the ups and downs of real life in an edgy, fun, modern Christmas movie.

Sleeping Together is an unexpected and whimsical holiday rom-com about two insomniac strangers plagued by exhaustion. After a brief meeting, they discover that they can only fall asleep if they are sleeping next to each other. What seems like an odd coincidence, and frankly a disruption to their lives, might be more meaningful than they’d like to admit.

What are you most excited about?

Tell us in the comments, and stream all your favorite Freeform shows right here.

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