Made by Maddie, an animated series show set to premiere on Nick Jr. on Sunday, Sept. 13, has been pulled by Nickelodeon, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Friday. Nickelodeon — which is part of ViacomCBS — decided to pull the program after concerns and criticism that the show bears too much of a resemblance to Hair Love, the Oscar-winning short film about a Black father’s quest to do his daughter’s hair. A 12-episode series adaptation of Hair Love was announced in July.
“Made by Maddie is a show we acquired several years ago from Silvergate Media,” Nickelodeon said in a statement provided to TV Guide, noting that it was from “a renowned production company we have previously worked with on other series.” The statement continued, “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,” Nickelodeon also said.
Criticism began online almost immediately after a teaser for the show was released earlier this week. Made by Maddie tells the story of an 8-year-old Black girl who uses her fashion savvy and her parents, Dee and Rashad, to solve problems. But because Dee has natural hair and Rashad has dreadlocks, astute observers began posting side-by-side comparisons between Made by Maddie and Hair Love, which uses the story of a father figuring out how to do his child’s hair to make a point about self-acceptance and Black beauty. Cherry himself shared some of the reactions.
Silvergate Media, the production company that worked on the show, said Made by Maddie had been in development since before Cherry began a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 to fund Hair Love.
“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,” CEO Waheed Alli told THR. “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.”
It’s unclear if the series will find a new home.