Disney+ Clearly Doesn’t Fully Understand What It Wants Its Original Content To Be

Disney+ is an unquestionable success. Over the course of a few months, it’s managed to reel in just under 30 million happy customers. Sure, at the moment, it may be wanting for blockbuster original content outside of The Mandalorian, but it’s clearly something they’re working on. And, unlike some of their competitors, they have the backlog to tide people over until they can amass a massive amount of original content.

However, it does seem as though they are at a bit of a crossroads with their original content. Recently, they dropped the Love, Simon series and moved it over to Hulu. The reason? Family-friendly concerns. This is an especially interesting move because of the film on which it is based. The reason cited was its less family-friendly nature, as the show apparently has alcohol use and sexual exploration. The cynic in me thinks that if this was a straight story there’d be no real problem, but that’s neither here nor there.

The story doesn’t really end there. You may recall recently that the Lizzie McGuire Disney+ revival was brought to a halt following the production of two episodes. Showrunner Terri Minsky was fired, but there was no real indication why. Star Hilary Duff recently started unveiling some of those issues following Love, Simon’s (now called Love, Victor) move to Hulu. She posted an Instagram story to her account with a headline revolving around the show’s “family-friendly” issues along with the caption “Sounds familiar.”

Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein

Now, Variety has some extra details surrounding Duff’s stalled show. According to them, Duff isn’t happy with Minsky’s firing, and that the showrunner wanted to do a more adult version of Lizzie McGuire. That presumably means it would be more aimed toward the 30-year-olds who actually grew up with the show. Disney was reportedly on board with this idea at first but had a change of heart as they saw the progress of the series. 

As it stands, Disney+ would like the show to be more akin to the original series. Yes, it could appeal to families, but it seems as though they’d like it to speak to a new generation of kids as opposed to the previous generation. In many ways, it sounds like they want this to be how Girl Meets World was. It may have had a continuation of a story many of us loved, but its tone was starkly child-centric.

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“I am so proud of the two episodes we did,” Minsky told Variety in an interview. “Hilary has a grasp of Lizzie McGuire at 30 that needs to be seen. It’s a wonderful thing to watch. I would love the show to exist, but ideally I would love it if it could be given that treatment of going to Hulu and doing the show that we were doing. That’s the part where I am completely in the dark. It’s important to me that this show was important to people. I felt like I wanted to do a show that was worthy of that kind of devotion.”

To me, this is a real indication of the trouble Disney is having figuring out Disney+. What do they do with their established brands? Do they try and appeal to a slightly older audience in hopes that they’ll take to it, or do they go in heavy on the family-friendly front, with its material skewing much younger?

I don’t think anyone out there wants to see Disney+ put out The Handmaid’s Tale or anything, but I don’t think there’s a harm in putting out PG-13 level content that appeals to adults. This goes double for the nostalgia content. With more on the way, Disney will need to figure out what exactly it is they want from their original programming and if swearing off more adult-centric (but family-friendly) content is truly the way to go.


Given the fact that Disney+ has also announced a revival of The Proud Family cartoon, one can’t wonder just how it’ll be handled. While the showrunners and original voice cast are returning, its overall approach is still a question mark. Is Disney afraid of tackling more serious subjects? I’m not saying they need to turn it into Family Guy or anything, but there’s nothing wrong with aging things up just slightly.

I mean, we saw a dude cut in half in The Mandalorian. I don’t know why this is such a big deal. But that’s just what I think. What do you think of this whole deal? Do you side with Disney+ on this one or the Lizzie McGuire creatives? Sound off in the comments down below!

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SOURCE: Variety (1), (2), Disney+

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Joseph Jammer Medina

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and contributor at LRM Online. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.

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