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Disney Plus just canceled a finished show before it even aired

Published Aug 28th, 2023 2:25PM EDT
Freddie Highmore in The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Image: Paramount Pictures

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Shortly after Bob Iger reclaimed his position as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, he made it clear that cutting costs would be a top priority. He proceeded to lay off thousands of employees and announced plans to cut back on content. The latest casualty of the cutbacks is a live-action adaptation of the children’s fantasy book series The Spiderwick Chronicles for Disney Plus. The cancellation is especially notable because all the episodes were already in the can.

Deadline reports that the eight-episode TV series from Paramount Television Studios and 20th Television has already been filmed and edited. Nevertheless, Disney no longer plans to put the series on its streaming service. Therefore, Paramount has decided to shop the series to other networks and streamers that might be interested in buying it.

Holly Black, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, confirmed the report on Instagram. She noted that the show is “done,” “great,” and “not going to be on Disney+.” She is also confident that the show will find a new home but doesn’t know where or when yet.

The report goes on to explain that The Spiderwick Chronicles is part of the content write-off that Disney announced in May. Disney has not confirmed this, but here’s what Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said about the write-off at the time:

We are in the process of reviewing the content on our DTC services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation. As a result, we will be removing certain content from our streaming platforms, and currently expect to take an impairment charge of approximately $1.5 to $1.8 billion.

A day later, Deadline reported that the upcoming original Disney Plus series Nautilus suffered a similar fate. It is yet another completed Paramount Television Studios production that the studio will now shop around to potential buyers.

Reportedly, Disney Branded Television (which produces live-action content for Disney Plus not in the Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic domains) will move away from non-Disney IP. If Disney doesn’t own the property to begin with, it just won’t be a priority. That explains why Percy Jackson and the Olympians (based on the YA novels published by Disney’s Hyperion Books) is moving forward, but The Spiderwick Chronicles is not.

While we wait to see where the series lands, you can rent Paramount’s The Spiderwick Chronicles movie on Apple TV, YouTube, and Redbox.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.