'American Girl' Specials Coming to HBO Max

HBO Max and Cartoon Network are developing two live-action specials based on Mattel's American Girl brand. The first special is inspired by the 2022 Girl of the Year, Corinne Tan, the first American Girl doll character of Chinese descent. Miya Cech, who starred in Nickelodeon's The Astronauts and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, will play Corinne.

American Girl: Corinne Tan (working title) will tell the story of Corinne (Cech) and Gwynn (Cech's real-life sister Kai Cech), who are adjusting to their new life as part of a blended family after their parents' divorce. Corrine also rescues a dog, who unknowingly helps Corrine through a challenging period in her life. The hour-long special will debut on Cartoon Network in December, the day before it arrives on HBO Max. A second American Girl special will be released in 2023.

"The live-action specials announced today capture the sweetness, the funniness, the chaos, and the messy imperfect genius of growing up and becoming who you are. Let's face it, most of us can still relate to all those feelings which makes this content so resonant," Amy Friedman, the head of kids and family programming at Warner Bros., said in a statement Wednesday. "These projects are a reflection of our commitment to bring in more girls and teens to HBO Max and Cartoon Network with authentic, fun, courageous, and emotional stories that speak to kids lives now."

Corinne Tan will also star Michelle Krusiec (Hawaii Five-0) as Corrine and Gwynn's mother Judy. Angela Tortu (Fresh off the Boat) will direct. Mattel Television and MarVista Entertainment are the studios behind the project. The executive producers are Fed Soulie and Phil Breman of Mattell Television; Larry Grimaldi, Hannah Pillemer, and Fernando Szew for MarVista; and Adam Shepard.

The new American Girl project is only the tip of the iceberg for HBO Max's efforts to bolster family-friendly content on the streamer. HBO Max also announced three live-action family shows to join the line-up. All three seasons of Hank Zipper will be released on Friday, while My Babysitter's a Vampire will debut in October 2022. The Next Step Seasons 5, 6, and 7 will be available this summer, while Season 8 will debut in 2023.

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HBO Max also announced B-Loved (working title), a two-part live-action special starring Peyton List (Cobra Kai) as Bea, a teenage ghost who starts a relationship with Cole, who lives in the home she's been haunting for 100 years. cole has a special ring that allows him to see Bea, and they discover what it means to be alive and how important it is to let go. Emily Ting (Tall Girl 2), is directing the show, which is expected to debut on Valentine's Day 2023.