Post Mortems

HIMYF's 'Crossover' With Lizzie McGuire Revealed: How Hilary Duff's Hulu Show Revisited the Disney Channel Classic

How I Met Your Father 2x07 Lizzie McGuire

More than two years after dreams of a Lizzie McGuire revival were dashed, Hulu’s How I Met Your Father is revisiting the iconic Disney Channel property via flashback.

During Tuesday’s episode, appropriately titled “A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Valentine’s Day,” Sophie & Co. recount their worst Valentine’s Day experiences in order to cheer up Ellen. What follows are glimpses from the gang’s past — all newly created except for one. Rather than hire a teenage actress to play 13-year-old Sophie, the series cuts to a clip from Hilary Duff’s early-aughts sitcom.

“[The idea] came from the writer of the episode [Amy-Jo Perry], and then we very quickly got a temperature check from Hilary via text, asking, ‘How do you feel about this?’ And she was immediately game,” series co-creator Elizabeth Berger tells TVLine. “Hilary thinks it’s funny. She did not hesitate for one second. Then it was a matter of combing through episodes and being, like, ‘What’s a great, dramatic, angsty middle school moment?'”

Lizzie McGuire flashback on How I Met Your Father 2x07They ultimately settled on the Season 2 opener/Valentine’s Day episode “First Kiss” (streaming on Disney+; sign up here), during which Lizzie experiences a series of firsts — her first love, her first kiss and, of course, her first heartbreak — with paperboy Ronnie. But there was an uncomfortable moment at the HIMYF table read where it seemed like Duff was no longer game. “In the script it said ‘Young Sophie,’ and she didn’t realize she was supposed to read that line, the Lizzie McGuire line, live at the table read,” fellow co-creator Isaac Aptaker recalls. “So, she just sat there, and we thought, ‘Did she change her mind? Is she taking a stance that she doesn’t want to do it anymore?’ And then she went, ‘Wait, sorry! That’s me!'”

Adds Berger: “The people in the room who didn’t know we had discussed it with Hilary were very nervous that she was stonewalling it, but that wasn’t the case at all.”

Lizzie McGuireA Lizzie McGuire revival, with its original creator and most of its original cast returning, was initially greenlit by Disney+ in August 2019. But as production got underway, creator Terri Minsky departed over creative differences, and production ultimately shut down for good. Duff pleaded with Disney to move the series to Hulu in order to accurately reflect Lizzie’s life as an adult, but nothing ever came of it. A year later, Duff signed on to star in Hulu’s How I Met Your Father.

Along with Duff returning in the title role, it had also been confirmed (with photographic evidence) that fans would’ve been reunited with Adam Lamberg as Gordo, Hallie Todd as Lizzie’s mom Jo, Robert Carradine as Lizzie’s dad Sam and Jake Thomas as Lizzie’s brother Matt. Per the official synopsis, the revival would have picked up “as Lizzie McGuire is just about to turn 30. She seemingly has it all – her dream job as an assistant to a fancy New York City decorator, her dream guy and a picturesque Brooklyn apartment – but things aren’t always as they seem. With a little help from her friends, her loving family and her 13 year-old alter-ego in animated form, Lizzie navigates the ups and downs of adulthood,” the logline read — but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

Asked if they’re worried the HIMYF flashback will result in a barrage of tweets asking them to revive Lizzie, Aptaker laughed and answered, “Hilary gets those every single day. If we get a little taste of it, that’s just life!”

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