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Disney+ logo courtesy of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

Disney announces new projects with 'Percy Jackson,' Ronda Rousey

Press Releases

Fri, Jan 28th 2022 04:20 pm

Disney+ has ordered "Percy Jackson and the Olympians," an epic adventure series based on – and closely aligned with – Disney Hyperion’s best-selling book series by award-winning author Rick Riordan with more than 180 million books in print globally. Riordan and Jon Steinberg (“Black Sails,” FX’s upcoming “The Old Man”) will write the pilot with James Bobin (“The Mysterious Benedict Society,” “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”) directing. Steinberg will oversee the series with his producing partner Dan Shotz. Steinberg and Shotz serve as executive producers alongside Bobin, Rick Riordan, Rebecca Riordan, Bert Salke, Monica Owusu-Breen, Jim Rowe and Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell, D.J. Goldberg. The Disney Branded Television series is produced by 20th Television. Casting is underway.

Rick Riordan announced it earlier this week in a message on Disney+'s social media.

Geared toward a general audience and especially tweens, teens and young adults, the live action series tells the fantastical story of a 12-year-old modern demigod, Percy Jackson, who's just coming to terms with his newfound supernatural powers when the sky god Zeus accuses him of stealing his master lightning bolt. Now Percy must trek across America to find it and restore order to Olympus.

Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, said, "With Rick Riordan, Jon Steinberg and Dan Shotz leading our creative team, we're deep into creating a compelling TV series worthy of the heroic mythological characters that millions of ‘Percy Jackson’ readers know are well-worth caring about, and we're eager to invite Disney+ audiences into stories that are true to the blockbuster franchise and full of anticipation, humor, surprise and mystery."

Added 20th Television President Karey Burke, “Bringing Rick Riordan’s brilliant ‘Percy Jackson’ books to Disney+ as a television series has been a mission for so many of us at this company as well as for Rick himself, and Jon, Dan, James and the excellent team they have assembled have proven to be the perfect collaborators. Thanks to our friends at Disney Branded Television led by Ayo, and Disney Streaming led by Michael, this will be an adaptation for the ages, with all the excitement, action and mythology fans of the books expect and love.”

Disney Streaming president Michael Paull said, “The opportunity to deliver a new fantastical series based on the bestselling book franchise to audiences around the world is thrilling, and we look forward to what our partners at 20th Television, Disney Branded Television and the ingenious Rick Riordan have in store for demigods everywhere.”

A former teacher turned best-selling author, Riordan has a record of success and is the No. 1 author at Disney Hyperion. In 2016, he and Disney Hyperion launched the “Rick Riordan Presents” imprint with the ongoing goal to find, nurture and promote diverse and under-represented authors of mythology-based fiction for middle-grade readers.

Steinberg is currently the co-creator, executive producer and showrunner of “The Old Man,” a new series for FX on HULU slated to air in 2022. Steinberg and his longtime producing partner Shotz signed an overall deal with 20th TV in 2019 to create, develop and oversee series for Disney. Prior to that, Steinberg co-created and executive-produced “Black Sails” for its four-season run on STARZ. The series won three primetime Emmy Awards. Steinberg was also the executive producer of “See” for Apple TV+ and was the creator and executive producer of “Human Target” for FOX, which he developed along with DC Comics. The first series Steinberg co-created was cult-favorite “Jericho” for CBS.

Bobin is a director, writer and producer who most recently served as director and executive producer on “The Mysterious Benedict Society” for Disney+. He also directed the feature film “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” for Paramount. He is best known for resurrecting the Muppets franchise, directing “The Muppets” starring Amy Adams and Jason Segel, which was an international sensation and spurred a sequel, “Muppets Most Wanted,” which Bobin also directed. In television, he is well known for his work as writer/directed on “Da Ali G Show,” on which he helped create the characters of Ali G, Borat and Brüno, and for co-creating and directing the HBO show, “Flight of the Conchords.” He also directed Johnny Depp, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter in “Alice Through The Looking Glass” for Joe Roth and Disney.

Rowdy’s Places Available Exclusively on ESPN+

Former combat champion Ronda Rousey hosts “Rowdy’s Places,” a combat sports-centric expansion of the “Peyton’s Places” franchise, on ESPN+.

Join Rousey on a journey to explore one of civilization’s oldest sports, competitive fighting. In her travels, Rousey will speak with experts within the worlds of MMA, wrestling, boxing and so much more to uncover why combat sports have been a global sensation for a millennium. Episodes 1-6 of the show are available now on ESPN+. Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/wnRKziObous

“Combat sports athletes and fans are some of the most passionate in the world, and competitive fighting has a rich history,” Rousey said. “I’m eager to take the reins from Peyton and use the ‘Places’ playbook to bring some incredible stories about the sports I love to audiences.”

In the latest episode, Rousey goes to Las Vegas to meet up with her former boss and UFC visionary, Dana White, to explore the rise of the biggest fight promotion in the world.

“Rowdy’s Places” is produced by NFL Films in collaboration with ESPN+. The series is executive produced by Omaha Productions.

A press release noted, “The ‘Places’ franchise has already tackled professional football, college football and soccer – it’s about time we take on competitive fighting, one of the oldest sports. I can’t think of anyone better than Ronda, whose passion and dedication to the sport are unmatched, to host the show and give fans a look at the history of the phenomenon that is combat sports.”

Episodes 1-6 are currently streaming on ESPN+.

•Episode 1: “Rise of MMA”: Rousey meets up with the heirs of the famed Gracie family, universally accredited with creating the discipline now known as MMA, and explores the history of UFC 1.

•Episode 2: “On the Mat”: Rousey meets up with former Olympic gold medalist and wrestling superstar Kurt Angle, and explores how he rose to national stardom as one of the most charismatic personalities in professional wrestling.

•Episode 3: “Kickboxing by the Bay”: Rousey takes a trip to The American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California, to talk with retired MMA star Daniel Cormier and reminisce about the gym’s role in developing some of the world’s greatest MMA fighters.

•Episode 4: “Training with Champions” Rousey visits Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, and discusses the history of boxing with pro boxing Hall of Famer Larry Holmes.

•Episode 5: “Dropping the Gloves”: Rousey meets up with former NHL standout Tie Domi, and explores the physical nature of hockey.

•Episode 6: “A Dynasty in the Desert”: Rousey goes to Las Vegas to meet up with her former boss and UFC visionary, Dana White, to explore the rise of the biggest fight promotion in the world.

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