Nickelodeon Prepares for Lift-Off with "The Astronauts," First Production with Imagine Kids+Family
Single-Camera, Action-Adventure Series Set in Space to Premiere this Summer
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Nickelodeon is setting off into new territory with the greenlight of The Astronauts (working title), a brand-new, live-action series following a group of kids who embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they are mistakenly launched into space. Marking Nickelodeon's first production with Imagine Kids+Family, The Astronauts (10 episodes) is currently in production in Vancouver, Canada, with a premiere slated for this summer.
"The Astronauts stands as one of the most ambitious and cinematic stories Nickelodeon has ever told, and we are so proud to partner with Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and Stephanie Sperber at their Kids+Family division, on this new series," said Brian Robbins, President, Kids & Family Entertainment, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks. "Through Imagine's ability to create fully relatable characters and put them into big, cinematic adventures, The Astronauts is well positioned to hit home with both kids and parents who want to experience this kind of great storytelling together."
"Nickelodeon has been the gold standard in kids' entertainment for a long time, and that's because they have a natural sense of how to develop talent and nurture ideas to make the best shows possible," said Ron Howard. "After talking to Brian Robbins about how Imagine's legacy in space could be brought to Nickelodeon, it was obvious that they wanted to take big creative swings with us on this series and that's incredibly exciting."
In The Astronauts, the spaceship Odyssey II is set to launch to investigate a mysterious asteroid passing by Earth. A group of kids who gathered to watch the lift-off sneak onto the empty ship with their parent's security clearance before the event, and accidentally initiate the launch sequence. Blasting off into space with no proper training, a malfunctioning onboard AI system, and their parents watching from Earth, the kids embark on a journey of survival using only their smarts and friendship as tools.
The group traveling together through space are: Samantha "Samy" Sawyer-Wei, played by Miya Cech (Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Always Be My Maybe); Elliott Combs, played by Bryce Gheisar (Wonder, A Dog's Purpose); Martin Taylor, played by Keith L. Williams (Good Boys, The Last Man on Earth); Doria Taylor, played by Kayden Grace Swan (A Black Lady Sketch Show); and Will Rivers, played by Ben Daon (Child's Play). Matilda, the ship's onboard AI system is voiced by Paige Howard (The Employer, Adventureland).
The Astronauts is executive produced by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and Imagine Kids+Family President Stephanie Sperber. Executive producer Daniel Knauf (Carniv�le, The Blacklist) also serves as writer and showrunner. The series is directed by DGA Award nominee Dean Israelite (Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Power Rangers movie, Project Almanac) who also serves as an executive producer, Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, The Orville), and Marcus Stokes (Criminal Minds, The Flash, 911). Will Davis serves as creative executive for Imagine Kids+Family.
Production of The Astronauts for Nickelodeon is overseen by Shauna Phelan, Senior Vice President, Scripted Content for Nickelodeon. Brian Banks serves as Nickelodeon's Executive in Charge of Production for the series.
Imagine has a rich history telling stories rooted in space adventure, including the multiple Academy Award-winning film Apollo 13 (celebrating its 25th anniversary this year), the hybrid docuseries Mars for NatGeo, and the Emmy Award-winning series From The Earth To The Moon for HBO. Imagine Kids+Family (IKF), run by President Stephanie Sperber, was launched in 2019 to develop high-quality content for kids and families with an eye toward building global franchises. Since its launch, IKF has invested in and is developing The Tiny Chef; has partnered with James Patterson's kid imprint Jimmy Books to develop several beloved children's books for film and television; has secured the rights to the Kalamata's Kitchen franchise; and has partnered with the preeminent picture magazine LIFE, to develop kids content, just to name few.
The Astronauts underscores a key element of Nickelodeon's content strategy, to create co-viewing opportunities for today's kids and parents who increasingly use TV time as family time and are looking for entertainment options holding appeal for everyone. Nick's new content slate is informed by insights into today's kids, who: are the most diverse generation ever and expect to see themselves authentically represented in media and in the world around them; want to make a positive difference in the world as they grow up; consider social media stars as their top role models, alongside their parents; and increasingly meet their much-desired need for family time by co-viewing entertainment content together.
About Imagine Entertainment
Founded in 1986 by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, Imagine Entertainment is an award-wining global entertainment company telling stories that inspire and empower, and create unforgettable entertainment experiences across all genres of film, television, documentary, kids and family, and brand integrated content. Imagine's productions have been honored with more than 60 prestigious awards including 43 Academy Award nominations and 195 Emmy(R) award nominations. Past productions include the Academy Award Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind, as well as Grammy Award Best Film winner The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years. Additional films include Get on Up, Rush, J. Edgar, Frost/Nixon, American Gangster, The Da Vinci Code, Apollo 13, 8 Mile, Liar, Liar, Backdraft, and Parenthood to name a few. Recent films include the critically acclaimed Pavarotti, and The Spy Who Dumped Me staring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon which won of the 2018 People Choice Award for Best Comedy. Current film productions include the documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band which opens in select on theaters February 21, 2020; D:Wade: Life Unexpected, which premieres February 23, 2020; the film adaption of the NY Times bestseller Hillbilly Elegy; Tick, Tick... Boom! directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda; Curious George based on the beloved children's character; a re-imaging of the hit Imagine films Friday Night Lights and Fear; the documentary Dads; and the documentary Rebuilding Paradise, which follows the community of Paradise, California, as it rebuilds following the devastation of the 2018 California wildfires. Current television projects in production include Genius: Aretha (NatGeo), Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu), 68 Whiskey (Paramount), Swagger (Apple), Why Women Kill (CBS All Access), and Filthy Rich (Fox). Additional television productions include Fox's Empire, Shots Fired and the 24 franchise; NatGeo's Genius anthology series; NBC's Parenthood and Friday Night Lights; Fox's and Netflix's Arrested Development; and HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, for which Howard and Grazer won the Emmy(R) for Outstanding Mini-Series. Grazer and Howard began their collaboration in the early 80's with the hit comedies Night Shift and Splash, and continue to run Imagine Entertainment as chairmen. www.imagine-entertainment.com.
Nickelodeon, now in its 40th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location based experiences, publishing and feature films. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC).