So Lizzie McGuire gets to be a grown-up after all – sort of.
The new show is “How I Met Your Father,” Tuesdays on Hulu, starting Jan. 18. It’s a different character (now named Sophie), with different producers; but it’s still Hilary Duff (shown here), with Lizzie-like zest.
And it reflects another show (a sequel to Duff’s “Lizzie McGuire”) that started and then stopped. “Comparing it to the ‘Lizzie’ that never was,” Duff said, “I think she’s a totally different character and we … have a lot more fun with what people are doing in their 30s.”
That sort of fun – grown-up stuff – is what stopped her previous plan:
Duff was just 13 when that first “Lizzie” series burst onto the Disney Channel, making 65 episodes plus a movie. She quickly branched out – several movies (including two “Cheaper by the Dozen” ones with Steve Martin), lots of TV guest roles, the seven-year cable series “Younger and a pop music career.
But as the Disney+ screening service neared, it wanted a sequel series, with Lizzie at 30. Two episodes were filmed before Duff and the producer quit, complaining that it was sticking too hard to a PG rating.
The timing worked well: Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger had been trying to write a variation on “How I Met Your Mother,” with new characters, but the same general idea: The kids are told a rambling story that will result – eventually – in their parents getting together.
Then they detoured to be producers of “This Is Us.” When they finished work on that, Duff had finished “Younger” and (abruptly) the “Lizzie” sequel.
As Aptaker tells it: “The studio was very clear and vocal with us that: ‘We want Hilary’s next show.’”
They set a meeting with her, which Berger missed merely because she was giving birth. “It was literally the only meeting I missed …. I said, ‘I’m having contractions; I think I have to go to a hospital.”
Duff seemed to consider that a good excuse. (She and her husband have two daughters and she has a son from her previous marriage.) The show emerged, with the older Sophie (Kim Cattrall, 65) narrating the adventures of the younger one (Duff, 34).
“The odds are kind of against her in her career,” Duff said, “but she’s leaning on this little pack if weirdos that she finds one night.”
Some of the actors playing her friends are fairly familiar –Francia Raisa has been Ana in “Grown-ish,” Christopher Lowell was Bash in “Glow” – and some aren’t. Many, however, have something in common, Raisa said: “We grew up watching Hilary.”
Now they’ll see how she – or Sophie or (sort of) Lizzie – is navigating her 30s,