Based on a concept by Hannah Montana co-creator Michael Poryes, the live-action musical tween series Home Sweet Rome! has already garnered a great deal of buzz. The Italian-Canadian co-production between Italy’s Red Monk Studio, a unit of France’s Superprod Group, and Canada’s First Generation Films is being taken out globally by Superights. Nathalie Pinguet, Superights’ deputy general manager for sales and acquisitions, tells us about the show’s USP, with input from Pedro Citaristi, Red Monk’s CEO and executive producer of the series, and Charles Braud, managing director of Superprod’s 440Hz.
TV KIDS: Tell us about Home Sweet Rome!
PINGUET: Superights ventures into teen live action with the launch of this groundbreaking new series. This brand-new coming-of-age series centers on Lucy, a 13-year-old girl who moves from the U.S. to start a new life in Rome with her widowed archaeologist dad, who has just married Francesca, an Italian pop star. Lucy has to learn to adapt to her new city, school and life with a famous stepmom. Meanwhile, she’s going through the growing pains of being a 13-year-old girl, with the additional challenge of her best friend, Kayla, being 6,000 miles away. The first season contains 13 26-minute episodes, and season two development is in the works.
TV KIDS: Tell us about the producers behind the series and what they bring to the production.
PINGUET: The series is based on a concept by Michael Poryes, co-creator of the iconic series Hannah Montana and That’s So Raven, a hitmaking blend of music and comedy. Home Sweet Rome! is an international co-production between Red Monk Studio, the Italian arm of Superprod Group, in partnership with Canada’s First Generation Films. The series was developed by Humanitas winner Matt Huether and Emmy nominee Courtney Jane Walker, who serve as showrunners. Italian executive producer Riccardo Neri’s credits include Oscar-nominated The Hand of God and HBO’s The New Pope.
TV KIDS: How does the Superprod Group take an integrated approach to TV, music and digital in this show?
PINGUET: Superprod Group takes a 360-degree approach to this new series; Red Monk produces while its Superights division handles distribution, and music subsidiary 440Hz manages the music supervision and music publishing aspects as well as digital distribution of the 11 original songs, written by Hollywood hitmakers Chen Neeman and Alex Geringas. We are delighted to launch our live-action slate with this project that has been developed in-house. We strongly believe that this musical project completes our lineup with something fresh, cross-cultural and globally appealing for the 6- to 12-year-old target.
CITARISTI: The collaboration between Matt and Courtney and the Canadian-Italian directors, Emmy-awarded Stefan Scaini, Cecilia Albertini and Margherita Ferri, creates a unique program that will delight audiences around the world. Following the shared excitement between us and our commissioning broadcasters for the first 13 episodes, we have just decided to kick off the development of season two, commissioning Matt and Courtney for the pilot script, where we will see even more Rome, more Lucy and Kyla and more music than season one!
BRAUD: Handling the music supervision for Home Sweet Rome! has been an incredible journey for the 440Hz team, from working with talented Italian composer Matteo Locasciulli to produce a wonderful score, hiring two great U.S. songwriters in Alex Geringas and Chen Neeman to deliver cute and catchy original songs, licensing over 20 preexisting songs covering many genres and nationalities to releasing the music worldwide on all music streaming platforms.
In addition to traditional music distribution and publishing, we’ve created a YouTube channel for the fantastic music videos and have linked them to our stars Kensington Tallman and Ava Ro’s growing social media accounts.
TV KIDS: What’s unique about this project in the live-action space?
PINGUET: It features two of the hottest young rising stars in television. Kensington Tallman is a series regular on Nickelodeon’s That Girl Lay Lay and is in an exciting upcoming major feature film. Ava Ro currently stars in Erin & Aaron, which debuted on Nickelodeon in late April and premieres worldwide on Netflix in the fall.
The series highlights the glory of Rome, which is unique in kids’ programming, while the compelling original songs drive the narrative as well as the comedy and showcase the talents of our stars. The series blends fashion, fun and Italian cooking into an irresistible recipe.
TV KIDS: Where has it been broadcast and sold to already, and what is Superights’ next big priority for the show?
PINGUET: Home Sweet Rome! is the first collaboration in the kids’ space between Max (HBO) and Europe’s top public broadcasters BBC, RAI and Germany’s ARD, along with Canada’s Family Channel. Discussions are in progress worldwide with leading outlets.
TV KIDS: What, above all, would you like our readers to know about the series?
PINGUET: Based on the show’s strong showing in Canada and the growing buzz around its launch in July on the BBC and in the fall in Italy and Germany, the pieces are clearly coming together to cement Home Sweet Rome! as a new global franchise. We can’t wait to share more about season two, which will see more of Lucy and Kyla’s adventures in more gorgeous Rome locations and more great original music!
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