EXCLUSIVE: Right-wing news service The Daily Wire is staffing up its fledgling kids entertainment division.
Chris Sonnenburg, an Emmy-winning showrunner for Disney series Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, will serve as Senior VP of Animation Development and Production. He will oversee a team of writers and animators that include Eric Branscum and Ethan Nicolle. Also joining is David ‘Kentucky’ Coleman from Pure Imagination Studios as EVP of kids content.
The moves come soon after the firm launched streaming platform DailyWire+, and months after it announced a commitment of $100M into kids’ content to counter what it views as “woke” programming among studios.
Sonnenburg developed and produced three seasons of the Disney Channel show Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, which garnered 12 Emmy nominations and four wins.
“It’s an incredible honor to join The Daily Wire platform,” said Sonnenburg. “My goal is to gather the best artists and storytellers in the world for the singular purpose of producing beautifully animated programs. I believe we can create timeless stories for our kids and their families for generations to come.”
Coleman recently produced and oversaw the media production for theme park attractions Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis and the Warner Bros. Cinema Spectacular both at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. He received a CMA Music Video of the Year nomination for directing and producing the Lego animated music video Second One to Know with singer and songwriter Chris Stapleton.
The Daily Wire is in post-production on Chip Chilla, an upcoming animated kids series featuring a family of homeschooled chinchillas. The series will be released as part of a full lineup of kids’ programming in spring of 2023.
“Our expansion into film and entertainment—particularly kids’ entertainment—is one of our most important initiatives,” said co-CEO Jeremy Boreing today. “Along with our key partnership with Dallas Sonnier and Bonfire Legend, David and Chris bring a level of experience and expertise that is essential to our success in this space. We could not be more thrilled to have them on board and are confident they will play a critical role in taking our entertainment offerings to the next level.”
The Daily Wire last year struck a production deal with Mandalorian actress Gina Carano, who was removed from the Disney+ series following incendiary remarks posted to social media. The company has since released five feature-length films in partnership with Dallas Sonnier’s Bonfire Legend, including Terror On The Prairie, starring Carano.
Earlier this year the Nashville-based company launched another new line of business — Jeremy’s Razors, which the company claimed sold 45,000-plus razor subscriptions in seven days.
The Daily Wire has used Disney’s opposition to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law as a stimulant for its entry into the kids entertainment space. The company said earlier this year: “Disney was once a reliable source of wholesome and innocent entertainment for children”, but now parents are “fearful that the content their kids are consuming is brainwashing them at best and endangering them at worst…We’re making content that has underlying values that conservative Christians all agree upon, but that they actually want to see.”