Could ‘Wimpy Kid’ Fly on TV?

Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson, fresh off their many Emmy wins for The People V. O.J. Simpson, are now at work on their reboot of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid film franchise. The pair actually pushed back the start date a day when it became apparent that The People v. O.J. was going to pick up a few Emmys Sept. 18; the FX series won nine after being nominated for 22.

Simpson and Jacobson have had a successful maiden voyage into television, so one wonders—or at least I wonder—if Wimpy Kid, based on the book series by Jeff Kinney, could fly as a TV series. Simpson seems intrigued by the idea. “I think it could be a future TV show if Jeff Kinney wants to do it,” said Simpson, who stressed that he was plenty busy with the film project, not to mention the next installment of American Crime Story, focused on Hurricane Katrina.

So we reached out to the Kinney camp, which referred us to Fox, producer of the Wimpy Kid film franchise. An insider there said there’s nothing officially in the works regarding a Wimpy Kid TV series, while acknowledging that the topic has come up from time to time.

The film franchise debuted in 2010, with the sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules out a year later, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days released in 2012. The trio grossed $225 million.

The new one, shooting in Atlanta and out this spring, bears the title The Long Haul. David Bowers directs, as he did for the 2011 and 2012 Wimpy Kid movies. New actors play the weakling Greg and his pal Rowley.

Jacobson-Simpson’s Color Force outfit produces the films with Fox. The pair also produces the Hunger Games film franchise.  

Simpson is well invested in the film project, which shoots in Atlanta. After all, he had to keep supplying his son with Wimpy Kid books—there are 10 in the series—as the boy tore through them. “I said to Jeff, I produce the movie, and I spent $200 on your books!” Simpson says. “There’s a reason why he was the second most highly paid author in the world last year.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.