My American Friend (lost pilot episode for "Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends" TV series; 2011)
"My American Friend" was a live-action pilot co-produced by two studios, both part of Viacom: Nickelodeon from the United States and Rainbow SpA from Italy. The main characters were played by Kiana and Kalina Campion, two singers from California. It was later turned into a full series, retitled Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends and produced entirely in Italy with new Italian actresses. The original pilot with American actresses hasn't been released.
The pilot is one of several co-productions between Nickelodeon and Rainbow SpA, the others being Winx Club, Crazy Block, and Club 57.
The pilot started filming in Tolentino, Italy, in September 2011. An Italian news article released a set of photos and details about it. According to a press tagline, it was meant to show "Italy seen through the eyes of two American teenagers". Filming continued in Milan and Rome.
The pilot was finished and greenlit, but three years passed before production started on a first season. According to creator Iginio Straffi, his collaborators "had to throw away many scripts until they finally found the right key with a new formula." Kalina and Kiana Campion said "the development process was extremely slow."
In July 2015, a full series was officially announced, with the Campions and Nickelodeon's American studio still attached to the project. Kalina and Kiana Campion decided to pass on the lead roles shortly before production started, and as a result, Nickelodeon's American studio was no longer needed. The Campions would later return to write songs and make guest appearances for the completed series, but the two lead characters were recast with new actresses. Instead of American actresses, the new leads were Italians (Emanuela Rei and Giorgia Boni).
The title My American Friend was kept throughout the filming of the first season. In April 2016, the show's new title, Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends, was revealed.
- News article about the pilot. Retrieved 13 Apr '15