Debby Ryan to Star in New Disney Channel Original Movie, ‘Sixteen Wishes’

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Debby Ryan of Disney Channel’s The Suite Life on Deck will co-star with Kyle XY’s Jean-Luc Bilodeau in a new Disney Channel original movie set to premiere during summer 2010.

Ryan plays Abby Jensen, who has been planning her 16th birthday for the longest time. She has a secret wish list taped to her closet door, and on her big day a box of Sweet Sixteen Birthday Candles arrives, each of which corresponds to a wish on her list. As her wishes come true, her day gets better and better until she makes a wish that changes everything.

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ABC News to Ask Hundreds to Resign; May Cut Workforce by About 20%

Weak advertising is forcing ABC News to restructure, as per a report by the LA Times, resulting in a workforce reduction of 20%, or approximately three hundred employees.

The process is expected to begin tomorrow morning in which ABC News will seek volunteers to accept a buyout and leave the organization followed by likely layoffs if not enough volunteer. ABC News employs 1,4000 staffers in all.

Update #1: AOL’s Daily Finance has reprinted today’s memo from ABC President David Westin which you can view here.

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Harlem Globetrotters to Open ESPN Wide World of Sports; Event Televised February 26 on ESPN2

Three of the biggest names in sports and entertainment will come together this week when the Harlem Globetrotters join forces with ESPN and Disney Sports as part of the official re-launch of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.

As part of the gala “re-opening” night festivities, the Globetrotters will take on the Washington Generals at the complex, with an all-star Globetrotter roster, including Special K Daley, Scooter Christensen, Big Easy Lofton and Flight Time Lang being joined by a bevy of sports celebrities, ESPN personalities and Disney characters. The game will be taped before a live audience on Thursday and televised nationally on Friday, February 26, at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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Bristol Palin to Guest Star on ABC Family’s ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’

Bristol Palin, eldest daughter of former Alaskan Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, will make her acting debut on ABC Family’s hit original drama series, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” The episode will shoot in Los Angeles and air this summer when the series returns for its third season on ABC Family.

Said Executive Producer Brenda Hampton: “Bristol Palin is the most famous teenage mother in America. We’re thrilled to have her join us, and I think she will bring additional attention to the issues facing teen parents that we’ve been exploring for a couple of seasons now.”

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‘Sonny’ Gets Second Chance; New Season Premieres March 14 on Disney Channel

The second season of the hit comedy series “Sonny With A Chance” – highlighted by clever new ‘So Random’ sketches that further showcase the ensemble cast’s tremendous comedic talent – will premiere SUNDAY, MARCH 14 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. Starring are Demi Lovato, Tiffany Thornton, Sterling Knight, Brandon Mychal Smith, Doug Brochu and Allisyn Ashley Arm. Recurring cast members include Nancy McKeon, Michael Kostroff and Vicki Lewis.

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ESPN Flaunts ‘Ultimate Uplink’ Technology with Virtual In-Studio Interview

Orlando Magic center Dwight ‘Superman’ Howard reversed the world’s spin yesterday to manipulate time and make an ‘in-studio’ appearance at the ESPN Studios in Connecticut while simultaneously existing in the flesh in Orlando. New technology created at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World allows the virtual projection of a ‘hologram,’ allowing an individual in one physical location appear to be in another altogether (some assembly required).

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Disney Channel Original Movie ‘Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars’ to Premiere March 26

Disney Channel will present the world premiere of “Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars,” starring Jennifer Stone (“Wizards of Waverly Place”), on FRIDAY, MARCH 26 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT). Based on the popular books by Louise Fitzhugh, the movie is a contemporary twist on the iconic character, as Harriet “The Spy” Welsch (played by Stone) vies to become the official blogger of her high school class.

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Handy Manny and the Tools Race to New Primetime Special with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Lance Bass

Handy Manny in 'Handy Manny Big Race'Playhouse Disney’s hit Emmy-nominated series, “Handy Manny,” puts the pedal to the metal with the premiere of the series’ second primetime special, “Handy Manny Big Race,” starring Wilmer Valderrama and guest starring NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. and N’Sync’s Lance Bass, SATURDAY, MARCH 20 (7:00-7:25 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. In this exciting primetime event for preschoolers and parents, Manny and the tools hit the motor speedway as a pit crew for the highly anticipated Wood Valley 500. The announcement was made today by Earnhardt and Valderrama at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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Disney Teams up with First Lady Michelle Obama to Create Healthier Generation

As part of its ongoing effort to promote healthy lifestyles and nutrition for kids and families, Disney today announced that it will develop a program in collaboration with First Lady Michelle Obama supporting “Let’s Move,” her newly announced campaign to create a healthier generation.

“Having been at the forefront of making healthier lifestyle choices appealing to kids and families, Disney is delighted to work with the First Lady to promote exercise, nutrition and healthy living”

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ABC Affiliates, Advertisers Cry Foul over Actions by ESPN and ABC News

Disney has been driving on thin, black ice lately when it comes to their ABC affiliates and their advertisers.

Two separate events are threatening the financial stability of the ABC network’s affiliate stations, most notably throughout the southern region of the United States.

The affiliates are noticeably upset over recent moves by Disney-owned ESPN taking several sporting events away from the affiliates, most notably several NASCAR events. It’s believed that ESPN, which has been producing all sports for the ABC network since 2006, is being handed carte blanche from the parent corporation in terms of which events it can air exclusively because it helps justifies the already industry-high retransmission fees from cable operators. The affiliates fear a significant loss in programming and local ad revenue as a result.

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