ABC Teams with CafePress.com to Allow Fans to Create Unique Authorized Merchandise

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ABC Entertainment Group and CafePress, the online epicenter for user-designed apparel and gifts, today announced a licensing agreement that allows TV fans to design and sell authorized show merchandise. Fans of the hit ABC shows – Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs and Schoolhouse Rock along with Legend of the Seeker (from ABC Studios) – can unleash their creativity to design custom apparel and gifts by following the official guidelines. Fans can visit CafePress.com to create products and purchase merchandise designed by other fans fully encompassing fan engagement within this merchandise platform. In addition, CafePress will be launching a shop featuring official Schoolhouse Rock merchandise.

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ESPN Acquires Vistas Unlimited, Developer of Live Digital Advertisement Insertion

ESPN has acquired technology development company Vistas Unlimited, Inc., located in Plano, Texas.  The acquisition will augment ESPN’s innovative use of virtual technology across its multiple platforms.  Under this agreement, ESPN will continue to employ a majority of Vistas’ employees.

“This acquisition represents ESPN’s dedication to staying at the forefront of innovation and technology development,” said Chuck Pagano, executive vice president, ESPN technology.  “The team that is joining ESPN brings a wealth of knowledge on developing cutting-edge virtual components that enhance the fan’s enjoyment of a game telecast.”

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Production on Final Season of ‘Hannah Montana’ Starts Monday; Season 3 Finale in March

Production begins Monday in Hollywood on the fourth season of the global sensation “Hannah Montana,” one filled with exciting, pivotal story arcs and event episodes. The hit series’ finale episode will air in spring 2011 on Disney Channel U.S. and, shortly thereafter, on Disney Channels around the world, where the total of 101 episodes will continue in daily encore telecasts. Starring Miley Cyrus in the title role, the Emmy-nominated comedy has dominated the kid and tween business and impacted popular culture since its 2006 debut. Its soundtracks are among the biggest, fastest successes the pop charts have seen in years, and the series provided a springboard for the multitalented Cyrus to become an international superstar with projects spanning Disney’s television, music, radio, consumer products and film divisions, including a #1 debut movie that grossed nearly $150 million at the global box office.

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New Contest from Radio Disney Will Leave Winner ‘StarStruck’ with Star Sterling Knight

Radio Disney will give kids the chance to win a family vacation in Hollywood, through local station events beginning SATURDAY, JANUARY 16 through the February 14 premiere of “StarStruck, a Disney Channel Original Movie set in Hollywood.

Events and premiere parties in nearly 40 local markets give kids the chance to enter to win a trip to Hollywood, California, to have lunch with the star of the movie, Sterling Knight (also of Disney Channel’s “Sonny With A Chance”), at a Hollywood hotspot. The winner and his/her guests will also receive a private tour of some of the most famous places in Los Angeles, including Beverly Hills and Bel-Air, Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood. Radio Disney on-air personality Ernie D will announce the winner Friday, February 12.

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Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, ‘When in Rome’ Stars Among Grammy Presenters

Earlier today, The Recording Academy announced a first-round list of celebrities who will act as presenters during the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards taking place January 31 in Los Angeles.

Disney stars are overwhelmingly represented by way of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Additionally, Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel of the upcoming film When in Rome are included on the list. Even TRON (Legacy) veteran Jeff Bridges is getting in on the act. Other presenters named include Justin Bieber, Norah Jones, Ke$ha, LL Cool J, Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana and Ringo Starr.

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Disney May Be Seeking to Limit Starz Control Over Online Distribution of Films

Bloomberg reports that Disney and Starz are in negotiations concerning future exclusivity the network has to upcoming releases from Walt Disney Studios. Currently, the Starz cable network has first rights to live action films from Disney and wishes to continue the option for as long as five years, but at dispute is the digital rights to the films which Starz would would be able to farm out to online services such as Netflix, whereas Disney is reportedly looking to prevent Starz from having such capabilities.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise, however, as Disney has been generating news lately with Iger constantly promoting Disney’s own subscription-based services, not to mention the forthcoming Keychest technology.

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Chuggington Set to Thrill on Playhouse Disney January 18 (Video)

Global television hit Chuggington is racing its way into American families’ homes this month. Kids and families can tune into Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel’s preschool-focused programming block, on January 18, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT for Chuggington’s U.S. premiere.

The train-centric series invites preschoolers to follow the humorous and educational adventures of three young ‘trainees’ as they learn to ‘ride the rails’ of life. Following the series premiere, Chuggington will air Tuesdays through Fridays at 10:30 a.m. ET/PT and weekends at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT.

Using feature-quality CGI animation, Chuggington’s fast-paced, kid-centric stories highlight a colorful, modern cast of characters and are designed to teach simple, yet important, social-emotional lessons that help preschoolers ‘ride the rails’ through their learning years. Throughout each episode, children climb aboard and follow the trainees as they embark on different adventures where they learn to explore Chuggington, an exciting and safe world.

Chuggington was created by Ludorum, a London-based company whose founders and principals have extensive backgrounds in building and managing some of the most beloved children’s entertainment properties including Bob the Builder, Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine. (more…)

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ABC Family Sets Premiere Dates for ‘The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice’ and ‘Business of Falling in Love’

ABC Family’s two upcoming original movies will have spring premiere dates. “The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice,” starring Francia Raisa (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) and Brendan Fehr, will premiere on Sunday, March 14 (8:00-10:00PM ET/PT). “Business of Falling in Love,” starring Hilary Duff, with Matt Dallas, Michael McMillan and Chris Carmack, will premiere on Sunday, April 18 (8:00-10:00PM ET/PT).

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Richard Castle to Pen ‘Heat Wave’ Sequel for Release in September

HEAT WAVE by Richard Castle, star of the hit ABC series “Castle” (Mondays, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), has been a successful cross-platform collaboration between ABC and Hyperion. Published at the end of September 2009, HEAT WAVE has spent 14 weeks on the New York Times Hardcover bestsellers list, currently holding the #32 position for Sunday, January 17, 2010. Hyperion has gone back to press eight times and now has over 170,000 copies in print. With this great success, a second book from Richard Castle will be published at the end of September 2010.

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ABC Starts Naked Revolution in Primetime in March to Fight Unhealthy Diets in America

Jamie Oliver is here to start a revolution.  The impassioned chef, TV personality and best-selling author is determined to take on the high statistics of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in this country, where our nation’s children are the first generation not expected to live as long as their parents.  Oliver is inviting viewers to take a stand and change the way America eats, in our home kitchens, schools and workplaces, with the thought-provoking new series, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” debuting FRIDAY, MARCH 26 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. The series is produced by Ryan Seacrest Productions and Fresh One Productions.

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