FROM GEEK TO CHIC: CORUS’ WATERSIDE STUDIOS ANNOUNCES START OF PRODUCTION ON NEW LIVE-ACTION SERIES GEEK GIRL
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June 14, 2023
The New Series is Based on the Best-Selling Book Series By Holly Smale
Geek Girl Will Debut on YTV and STACKTV in Canada and Worldwide on Netflix
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For Immediate Release
TORONTO, JUNE 14, 2023 – Corus Entertainment’s Waterside Studios, an IP and production venture focused on bringing premium scripted Canadian content for youth and primetime audiences to the Canadian and international marketplace, announces the start of production for its highly anticipated new series Geek Girl (10×30), based on the best-selling novels by Holly Smale. Production is now underway in the UK with co-producers RubyRock Pictures and Aircraft Pictures and will continue in Canada later this summer. Slated to premiere on YTV and STACKTV in Canada and worldwide on Netflix next year, the highly anticipated series will be distributed globally by Nelvana thereafter.
“As Corus continues to build a content powerhouse, Geek Girl brings together Corus’ incredible collection of content and media assets,” said Colin Bohm, EVP Content and Corporate Strategy, Corus Entertainment. “From our YTV and STACKTV platforms, to our investment in Aircraft Pictures and launch of Waterside Studios, and Nelvana distributing the series globally, we have leveraged our full operation to bring Geek Girl to audiences worldwide.”
Geek Girl is the story of awkward teenager Harriet Manners whose life is upended when she is discovered as a model, whisking her from high school to high fashion. The beloved books are loosely based on Holly’s own experience. When, in January 2021, Holly was later diagnosed as autistic she realized her beloved main character, Harriet Manners, must be autistic too.
“For the last decade it’s been my dream to see Geek Girl brought to life on screen,” said Holly Smale, author of the Geek Girl book series. “I’m so excited to work with Waterside Studios; the talent, vision and enthusiasm the entire team is bringing to my story is incredible, and I can’t wait for the whole world to meet Harriet Manners on Netflix and YTV.”
The cast of Geek Girl is led by Emily Carey (House of the Dragon, Get Even, Wonder Woman) as Harriet Manners. The all-star cast also includes Sarah Parish as Jude Paignton (Industry, Stay Close), Emmanuel Imani (Riches, The Wheel Of Time) as Wilbur Evans, Liam Woodrum (Love In Zion National) as Nick Park, Zac Looker (A Kind of Spark) as Toby Pilgrim, Tim Downie (Outlander, Paddington) as Richard Manners, Jemima Rooper (Flowers in the Attic: The Origin) as Annabel Manners, Daisy Jelley (London Kills) as Poppy Hepple-Cartwright and introducing Rochelle Harrington as Natalie Grey.
The screen adaptation was written by lead writer Jess Ruston, Sameera Steward, Holly Smale and Sarah Morgan. The series is directed by Declan O’Dwyer (Miss Scarlet & The Duke, Flowers In The Attic: The Origin, Merlin). The show is creatively produced by Zoë Rocha for RubyRock Pictures and by Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen for Aircraft Pictures.
“Holly Smale has written heart-warming and laugh-out-loud coming-of-age stories that resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider,” said Jeff Norton, Head of Waterside Studios, and Executive Producer. “It’s been a true honour to develop these books for the screen and we couldn’t be happier to partner with both Corus’ own YTV and Netflix to bring Holly’s story to the screen together with top production companies RubyRock Pictures and Aircraft Pictures.”
“The books are an incredible read – there’s so much heart in the story and characters,” added Zoë Rocha, Founder of RubyRock Pictures. “Seeing the TV series come to life first in the writers’ room and now on set, I know that the show is going to be very special with all that emotional resonance depicted on screen. For anyone who knows the twists and turns of growing up, this is going to speak to you.”
The Geek Girl series comprises six novels, two novellas and one World Book Day book, all of which are published by HarperCollins UK and translated into 28 languages. Geek Girl was originally developed with the assistance of the BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund.
Waterside Studios joins forces with Nelvana, a world-leading international producer, distributor and licensor of children’s animated and live-action content, to bring a slate of live-action programming into Corus’ overall content offering for global audiences. The new live-action series has been pre-sold to Netflix worldwide, and Nelvana has been appointed to distribute Geek Girl globally.
About Corus Entertainment Inc.
Corus Entertainment Inc. (TSX: CJR.B) is a leading media and content company that develops and delivers high quality brands and content across platforms for audiences around the world. Engaging audiences since 1999, the company’s portfolio of multimedia offerings encompass 33 specialty television services, 39 radio stations, 15 conventional television stations, digital and streaming services, animation software, technology and media services. Corus is an internationally-renowned content creator and distributor through Nelvana, a world class animation studio expert in all formats and Corus Studios, a globally recognized producer of hit scripted and unscripted content. The company also owns full-service social digital agency so.da, lifestyle entertainment company Kin Canada, leading 2D animation software supplier Toon Boom and children’s book publishing house, Kids Can Press. Corus’ roster of premium brands includes Global Television, W Network, HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, Magnolia Network Canada, The HISTORY® Channel, Showcase, Adult Swim, National Geographic, Disney Channel Canada, YTV, Global News, Globalnews.ca, Q107, Country 105, and CFOX, along with streaming platforms STACKTV, TELETOON+, the Global TV App and Curiouscast. Corus is the domestic advertising representative and an original content partner for Pluto TV, a Paramount Company, which is the leading free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service. For more information visit www.corusent.com.
About Waterside Studios
Waterside Studios is an IP and production venture focused on bringing premium scripted Canadian content for youth and primetime audiences to the Canadian and international marketplace. Waterside Studios collaborates with independent producers as well as joining forces with Nelvana, a world-leading international producer, distributor and licensor of children’s animated and live-action content. Together with Nelvana, Waterside Studios brings a slate of live-action programming into Corus Entertainment’s overall content offering for global audiences. Waterside Studios is headed up by executive producer Jeff Norton, known for his work in bringing best-selling books to the screen.
Entertaining kids for over 50 years, Nelvana is a world-leading international producer and distributor of children’s animated and live-action content. Nelvana produces a stable of award-winning and globally renowned brands that focus on comedies, preschool and action series, and ancillary consumer products programs. Nelvana’s content airs on Corus Entertainment’s kids channels in Canada and in over 180 countries around the world. The Nelvana library has well over 5,000 episodes of programming and has received over 70 major international program awards including Emmys® and Canadian Screen Awards. Visit the Nelvana website at nelvana.com.
About RubyRock Pictures
Founded by Zoë Rocha London-based, high-end scripted production company RubyRock Pictures is currently in development on a number of projects, working with companies such the BFI, Corus Entertainment and A+E Studios. Prior to setting up RubyRock, Zoë spent four years as founder and Creative Director at LittleRock Pictures. Whilst there she oversaw the development and production of shows such as Ch5 and Netflix’s hit series BORDERLINE and the International Emmy Award nominated Sky/Showtime original series URBAN MYTHS. Most recently, Zoë served as creative EP on the series from A+E Studios / Lifetime FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC: THE ORIGIN. Based on the long running series of bestselling novels by VC Andrews, the show stars Jemima Rooper, Max Irons, Paul Wesley, Kate Mulgrew and Kelsey Grammer. The show was the #1 most watched cable series in the US on its release last Summer.
About Aircraft Pictures
Aircraft Pictures is an Academy Award® and Emmy® nominated producer of scripted content for kids, families and young adults. Based in Toronto with an office in Los Angeles, the production company was founded by Anthony Leo and Andrew Rosen. Select credits include the sci-fi series Circuit Breakers for Apple TV+, the animated theatrical feature film The Breadwinner – a co-production with Cartoon Saloon in association with Executive Producer Angelina Jolie – nominated for an Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and winner of the Los Angeles Film Critics Award and Annie Award for Best Independent Animated Feature; five seasons of the Canadian Screen Award-winning and Daytime Emmy®-nominated live-action Hulu Original series Holly Hobbie; three television movies based on the Bruno & Boots book series by young adult fiction icon Gordon Korman; and twenty-six episodes of the Kidscreen Award-winning single-camera comedy Raising Expectations. Upcoming productions include the tween, live-action, comedy Popularity Papers, in association with WexWorks Media/BBC Studios; the animated series Summer Memories, in association with WildBrain; and the live-action feature film Youngblood, based on the original MGM film of the same name. For more information, visit www.aircraftpictures.com.
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