Series Creator Tim Federle Says Goodbye to Beloved TV Series

Tim Federle

When Tim Federle wrote the first episode of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” in 2019, he said he had no storyline plotted out beyond the beginning. He hoped the network would pick up the pilot. Winging it worked, and the series ran for four seasons.

By the time “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” wrapped in 2023, the Wildcats student body had explored the musical from which the series takes its name, “Frozen,” high fashion, relationships, first kisses, and general theater nerdiness. The show helped make the career of singing sensation Olivia Rodrigo, and it provided an opportunity for Federle to work with Alyson Reed, one of his favorite actresses.

Earning Creative Control

Fans lamented the end of the series, but its showrunner and creator told Vanity Fair he happily ended it in four seasons. Disney+ allowed him to end it with closure instead of a cliffhanger, something he and the cast found important. It took all four seasons to reach that point.

“Season one I had to count how many times characters said ‘hell,’ and by season four the network just let me do what I wanted,” Federle said in the same Vanity Fair interview.

GLAAD Award Win

That let him address a range of issues that teens struggle with, including those related to gender and sexuality. The series won the Outstanding Kids & Family Programming award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for its “fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues,” according to What’s On Disney Plus.

Actors Input in Storylines

In its first season, the show followed the student body of East High, the setting of the High School Musical movies, as they mounted a theater production based on one of the films. Once season one wrapped, the show faced a major challenge – how to continue once the characters had successfully staged their musical. Federle built out from the original films, exploring high school and the life of theater nerds.

To prepare for season three, Federle told Business Insider that he interviewed each cast member separately, asking each for input on what they wanted for their character. Running an amazingly collaborative TV show, author Federle worked to highlight his actors’ talents. For instance, he featured Olivia Rodrigo performing the song “All I Want,” one of her original compositions.

Next Up for Federle

Federle’s collaborative methods and willingness to accept actor input elevated him to a Hollywood favorite as a director of musical productions. The busy author, director, and producer has started pre-production work on “Sister Act 3,” starring Whoopi Goldberg, Keke Palmer, and Jenifer Lewis.

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