Nickelodeon is going a little rock ‘n’ roll for its next TV series — a musical comedy based on the 2003 film “School of Rock” premiering next spring.
The live-action 13-episode series, also called “School of Rock,” will follow Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star (played by Jack Black in the movie) who poses as a substitute teacher at a fancy prep school and turns his class of over-achieving students into a rock band. “Besides being a great movie, we thought the characters are something our audience would love, the comedy is exactly what kids would love and there’s a musical element to it that we think our audience will respond to,” says Sarah Noonan, senior VP of live action, current series and development for Nickelodeon.
And while the movie was a hit at the box office — grossing more than $131 million — most of Nick’s pre-teen audience is too young to have seen it in theaters. “It’s also a great opportunity because the property … really does speak to our audience,” Noonan says.
Jim and Steve Armogida will write and executive-produce the series, along with the movie’s director Richard Linklater and producer Scott Rudin.
“School of Rock” won’t drastically change the movie’s premise, but will expand on the students’ stories and re-cast Dewey as a mid-20s guy to increase the appeal for its younger audience. “A lot of those characters are really great kids stories — they’re in school, navigating that world. I think we’re going to have a lot of opportunities for the kid’s point of view,” Noonan says. “And then Dewey is such a great character, he’s a man-child which is always a great, fun character.
“A lot of the characters are going to be very similar and everything is generated from that core idea of the movie,” she says. “We’re going to be making slight tweaks, just to make sure our kid audience is invested in the younger kid characters.”
While casting hasn’t started yet, there’s a chance at least one familiar Nick face could turn up — “iCarly” star Miranda Cosgrove, who played student Summer Hathaway in the original movie.
Says Noonan, “We thought it would really be a great opportunity to see if she might be interested in coming and doing a cameo for us.”
By Andrea Morabito