Nickelodeon today announced the development of a new animated project, Man of the House (working title), from Norman Lear’s ACT III Productions. With creative concept by Colombian-American writer and illustrator Michael Molina (Trivia Night), Man of the House follows 11-year-old José as he helps his mother Maria watch over his two younger siblings, Maria Juliana (Maju) and Diego, while trying to form a hip-hop group with his quirky classmate and neighbor, Wilbur, that lives downstairs. Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons) and Brent Miller (One Day at a Time) will serve as executive producers.
The development of Norman Lear’s project will be overseen by Claudia Spinelli, who has been promoted to the role of Vice President, Animation Development. Formerly Vice President of Current Series, Spinelli will oversee the development pipeline of all new animated content, while identifying potential creators, showrunners, writers and directors. She will also work closely with Nickelodeon’s talent relations department and the animation community to scout new talent for animation development.
“Norman has been telling stories about families, parents and kids for many years, and it’s so exciting that he and his producing partners Brent and Michael, want to tell this story to today’s generation of Nick kids,” said Chris Viscardi, Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon Animation.
Viscardi continued, “I am also incredibly excited that Claudia will oversee the development of this project, among many more, as Nick’s new head of development. Claudia has shepherded some of today’s most popular series including SpongeBob Square Pants and Sanjay and Craig. She is a true creative partner and a trusted voice with a love for storytelling. I look forward to her continued leadership in our animation group.”
Spinelli began her career at Nickelodeon in 2000 in the development department. In 2002, she expanded her role by joining the Current Series group as a creative executive overseeing the brand management of SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Jimmy Neutron and Avatar. Throughout her career at Nickelodeon, she has also worked on animated shows Sanjay and Craig, Robot and Monster, Making Fiends, and Planet Sheen, among others. As SpongeBob SquarePants grew in popularity, Spinelli was elevated to Executive in Charge of the series in 2007. For the past decade, her work on SpongeBob SquarePants has extended beyond the show as she has helped initiate projects throughout other areas of the company including: marketing partnerships with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; SpongeBob SquarePants theme park attractions; video games featuring the iconic character; and the most recent debut of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, which was recently nominated for 12 Tony Awards.
Spinelli holds a BFA in film from New York University. She also earned an MFA in Animation and Digital Arts from University of Southern California, where later she taught a class on Introductory Principles of Motion for Animation for the Interactive Media Department. In between her degrees, Spinelli has held a number of positions in various animation houses in New York City on commercials and short films.
Founded in 1985 by television icon Norman Lear, ACT III Productions is a media company dedicated to creating and or producing content that not only entertains, but also creates a conversation and is best known for producing popular films including Stand by Me, The Princess Bride and Fried Green Tomatoes.
Brent Miller, Lear’s producing partner and head of production and development for the company, also serves as an executive producer with Lear on projects including the critically acclaimed reimagining of One Day at a Time, documentary series America Divided, and upcoming pilot Guess Who Died.
After graduating from Columbia University in New York City, Michael Molina produced sketch videos and feature film, Trivia Night, with comedy troupe Local Empire before relocating to Los Angeles. Molina has also written educational animated TED talks that have garnered millions of views online, covering topics ranging from déja vu to vampires.
Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).