ABC to Debut ‘ESPN Sports Saturday’ Programming Block Beginning April 3

ESPN Sports Saturday on ABCESPN Sports Saturday, a new block of sports programming on ABC, will launch Saturday, April 3, from 4-6 p.m. ET, it was announced by John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. The two-hour window will consist of a new 60-minute, highlight-driven series titled Winners Bracket and a mix of some of ESPN’s most distinctive offerings, including films from the acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series, episodes of ESPN’s award-winning newsmagazine E:60 and installments of the interview-focused Homecoming with Rick Reilly.

ESPN Sports Saturday will generally be featured Saturdays from 4-6 p.m., from April through mid-August, and will return for another round of shows December through August 2011. For certain weeks, as the schedule dictates, ESPN Sports Saturday may be less than two hours.

ESPN Sports Saturday is a creative way to mix more high quality sports product with ABC’s strong live event lineup,” Skipper said. “Winners Bracket will review the sports week using a fresh and fun approach, while some of the very best ESPN series will provide an extremely compelling companion.”

Bill Hoffman, vice president, general manager, WSB-TV in Atlanta and the chair of the sports committee for the ABC Affiliate Board of Governors commented, “We are excited about this brand new sports offering from such a trusted brand. This program comes as a result of great creative thinking and collaboration between the ABC Board and ESPN.”

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Showtime Networks to Get Exclusive Cable Rights to DreamWorks Films Thru 2015

Disney-ABC Domestic Television, a division of The Walt Disney Company, and Showtime Networks Inc. have entered into an exclusive output agreement under which up to 35 of DreamWorks Studios’ films, to be theatrically released between 2010 and 2015, will air on the network.  The announcement was made today by Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. and Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

“We are very pleased to be in business with The Walt Disney Company in bringing us theatrical films from DreamWorks,” said Blank.   “We expect a great supply of high-profile commercially successful films from Steven Spielberg, Stacey Snider and their wonderful team. Combined with our current supply of theatrical titles, our subscribers will enjoy a diverse slate of films for years to come.”

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Walt Disney Studios Extends Cable First Rights Agreement with Starz Thru 2015

Starz Entertainment, LLC, and Disney-ABC Domestic Television, a division of The Walt Disney Company, announced today the signing of a new, exclusive long-term licensing agreement for theatrical releases from The Walt Disney Studios through 2015. The previous output agreement was set to run through 2012. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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New Disney Channel/Disney XD Line-up Features New Phineas & Ferb Movie, Marvel Cartoon, Specials and More

In a banner year of creative leadership, strong ratings and a growth trajectory, Disney Channels Worldwide today presented to U.S. advertisers its 2010-11 programming highlights for Disney Channel and Disney XD, platforms and entertainment content that connects with hundreds of millions of kids, tweens and families.

Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment, and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, presented several new and returning Disney XD and Disney Channel projects. He also showcased the first look at Disney Channel’s next big “break into song” musical, “Camp Rock 2 The Final Jam,” a highly anticipated Disney Channel Original Movie set to premiere in late summer 2010. The projects are:

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ABC Launches ‘LOST’ Fan Promo Contest; Winner to Attend Series’ Finale Party

With less than three months until the final episode of “Lost,” ABC celebrates the series’ dedicated fans, providing them with the opportunity to become a part of “Lost” history. Sponsored by Kia Motors, the Ultimate “Lost” Fan Promo Contest gives fans the tools to express and share their passion for the groundbreaking hit drama series through the production of an original promo which will air on the ABC Television Network the week prior to the highly anticipated finale, airing on a special night, Sunday, May 23 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), preceded by a recap special from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET, on ABC.

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ABC Announces Celebrity Pairings for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 10; New Dancer to Debut

An all-new cast of celebrities and their professional partners hit the dance floor on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” with the highly anticipated two-hour season premiere, MONDAY, MARCH 22 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

In alphabetical order, and with their professional partners, the 11 stars making their ballroom dancing debut are:

* BUZZ ALDRIN, legendary astronaut, partners up with ASHLY COSTA (formerly DelGrosso), who returns for her fourth season.

* PAMELA ANDERSON, actress and model, joins professional dancer DAMIAN WHITEWOOD, who makes his “Dancing with the Stars” debut this season.

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ABC Announces Line-up for Tenth Season of “Dancing with the Stars’

During the final moments of The Bachelor‘s season finale, ABC revealed its line-up of competitors for the next season of its popular series Dancing with the Stars via perennial host and emcee Tom Bergeron with some assistance from fromer Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars contestant Melissa Rycroft.

Celebrity contestants announced for the series are:

  • Pamela Anderson
  • Chad Ochocinco
  • Aiden Turner
  • Erin Andrews
  • Shannen Doherty
  • Buzz Aldrin
  • Niecy Nash
  • Nichole Scherzinger
  • Evan Lysacek
  • Kate Gosselin
  • Jake Pavelka

The new season of Dancing with the Stars premieres on ABC on March 22, 2010.

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WABC-TV New York Launches Retrans Offensive Against Cablevision

As we first reported back in December, WABC-TV, a member of the Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) had begun preparing for a standoff with Cablevision in New York as its retransmission contract comes up for negotiations by registering for a series of domain names which had inadvertently put its agenda on public display for a couple of hours until we brought to the public’s attention.

Tonight, just before the season finale of The Bachelor began, WABC-TV ran a commercial in New York City taking an offensive stance, showing a montage of television programming carried by the station, including local news, which would potentially be lost if Cablevision opts to remove WABC-TV from its lineup.

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Report: Kate Gosselin to Join Cast of ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Television columnist Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post reports that the former co-star of TLC’s Jon and Kate + Eight-turned occasional The View co-host stand-in will be announced as one of the new cast members of the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars when ABC reveals the list throughout the season finale of The Bachelor on Monday night.

In related news, ABC has announced that on March 1, Jimmy Kimmel will interview one of the new celebrities set to compete in this season’s competition as well as the new Bachelorette.

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ESPN Names ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as 3D Development Center

Recognizing the need for a real-world testing ground to continue the development of ESPN 3D, ESPN has designated the ESPN Innovation Lab at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex located at the Walt Disney World resort as the hub for developing 3D technology.  ESPN will invite various technology companies to utilize the site for emerging technology enhancements focused on 3D television.  In addition to the resources at the Innovation Lab, ESPN will bring online a new production center that can be used for producing live sporting events for multiple ESPN platforms.

The ESPN Innovation Lab at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Walt Disney World. © ESPN

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