If you’ve spent any time on Twitter this week, you may have spotted some brewing confusion over a previously forthcoming Nick Jr. show titled Made By Maddie. Originally set to premiere on September 13, Nickelodeon acquired the preschool show about a fashion-focused little girl from Silvergate Media. On Friday, the network announced that it was pulling Made By Maddie—created by Paula Rosenthal—from its schedule after receiving backlash for its curious similarities to the Oscar-winning Hair Love.
The show received early praise for centering on a Black family, but the kudos were quickly overshadowed once Nickelodeon released images of the new show. The initial confusion was understandable: The new show harbored a lot of striking, rather uncanny similarities to the popular short from Matthew Cherry, from the father’s locs and the little girl’s pink bow to the design of the gray cat. Neither Cherry, illustrator Vashti Harrison, nor anyone from Hair Love’s creative team had any involvement in the development of the Nick Jr. series.
Silvergate Media recently denied any plagiarism, stating that the show had been in development for five years—two years before Hair Love established its Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the original project. (Whether the actual character designing process began before or after Hair Love’s campaign remains unclear). Now, per Deadline, the network has decided to pull the show from the schedule entirely. “Since announcing the show’s premiere date this week, we have been listening closely to the commentary, criticism and concern coming from both viewers and members of the creative community,” Nickelodeon said in a statement. “In response, and out of respect to all voices in the conversation, we are removing the show from our schedule as we garner further insight into the creative journey of the show... We are grateful to Silvergate Media for all of their work. And we hold Matthew A. Cherry and the wonderful and inspiring ‘Hair Love’ in the highest regard.”
The original Hair Love team does have a show in the works with HBO Max titled Young Love, which will follow the short’s starring family, the Youngs, through marriage, parenthood, and pertinent social issues. “I am beyond excited to continue telling the story of Stephen, Angela and Zuri and further explore the family dynamics of a young Black millennial family we established in our short film Hair Love as an animated series,” said Cherry in a statement released upon the streamer’s July announcement. “Couldn’t ask for better partners in Sony Pictures Animation and HBO Max in helping us get Young Love out to the world.”