Producers of the forthcoming children’s television show Made by Maddie want to set the record straight about the originality of their show, after many Twitter users noticed some undeniable similarities between images from the show set to air on Nick Jr. and the short film Hair Love, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2020, as well as a lack of diversity in the creative team behind Made by Maddie.
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Waheed Ali, the CEO of Made by Maddie’s production company, Silvergate Media, claimed that Made by Maddie has been in development for 5 years, prior to the 2017 kickstarter campaign that put Hair Love on the map. “Made by Maddie is a preschool show about an 8-year-old girl who uses her fashion sense and design ingenuity to solve problems,” said Ali. “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 as its own story with its own adventures.”
Hair Love creator and Oscar winner Matthew A. Cherry seems less than convinced by Ali and Silvergate Media’s proclamations of their innocence. The director tweeted a monocle and skeptical-face emoji regarding the similarities, and also liked other tweets calling out the similarities between the show and the short. When Entertainment Weekly reached out to Cherry for comment, a representative for Cherry said, “We had no knowledge of this show.” Cherry, who was just named one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 in Media and Entertainment and has his own animated series based on Hair Love headed to HBO Max, probably was too busy being successful to worry too much about other people potentially stealing his Oscar-winning ideas.
Update, Friday, September 4, at 3:40 p.m.: This kids’ channel is not playing games. Following the online response, Nickelodeon has pulled Made by Maddie off the schedule. The Nick Jr. show was set to premiere September 13 but is now delayed indefinitely as the network works through concerns. “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,” Nickelodeon said in a statement to Vulture. “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.”