It was just four days ago when Nickelodeon announced a premiere date for Made by Maddie, a new kids cartoon for Nick Jr. featuring Black lead characters and cast. Since then, a number of people have criticized the show for its apparent similarities to Hair Love, the Oscar-winning short film from director Matthew A. Cherry, who's also developing a television spin-off of the material for HBO Max. Cherry himself even promoted some of the critiques on social media.
In a new development on Friday, Nickelodeon announced it would be pulling Made by Maddie for the time being ahead of its planned Sept. 13 premiere.
"Made by Maddie is a show we acquired several years ago from Silvergate Media, a renowned production company we have previously worked with on other series," a spokesperson for Nickelodeon said in a statement to EW. "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. 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."
Hair Love, a touching short about a Black father attempting to style his daughter's hair one morning, was funded through a Kickstarter campaign that launched in 2017 and was since picked up by Sony Animation to screen in theaters in front of The Angry Birds Movie 2. Cherry won the Oscar for Best Short in 2020 and he's now creating a story about the Young family from the short for an animated series.
Created by Paula Rosenthal and produced by Silvergate Media, Made by Maddie is a 22-episode half-hour series about 8-year-old Maddie (voiced by Alyssa Cheatham) from New York City who "uses her imagination and design ingenuity to turn every problem into a positive with the perfect fashion fix."
Patina Miller voices Maddie's mom Dee, James Monroe Iglehart voices father Rashad, and Sophia Torres voices Maddie's best friend Jada. Other guest voices include Karamo Brown (Queer Eye), Rhyon Nicole Brown (Empire), Danny Burstein (Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!), Monét X Change (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Joey Fatone (*NSYNC), and more.
"Made by Maddie is a preschool show about an 8-year-old girl who uses her fashion sense and design ingenuity to solve problems," Silvergate Media CEO Waheed Alli told EW in a statement. "Silvergate Media has been working on the series for the last five years and throughout the production has taken steps to ensure a diverse production team and an appropriate voice cast lending their expertise and talent. As creators ourselves, we have the utmost respect and admiration for Matthew A. Cherry and Hair Love, and our hope is that when people watch our show, they will see it is its own story with its own adventures."