Mickey Mouse Unveils Latest Train to Join Disney History, Mickey’s Magic Choo Choo, in Kansas City

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGDAqCdG9qsKANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mickey Mouse paid a visit to Kansas City this weekend, Walt Disney’s hometown, as he celebrated the unveiling of a traveling art exhibit that pays homage to Walt’s lifelong love of trains. He also unveiled the latest Mickey Mouse-inspired toy train set, Mickey’s Magic Choo Choo, releasing in time for the holidays. Local preschoolers along with Kansas City officials and hundreds of fans saw Mickey off as he kicked off his virtual train tour departing Union Station for Los Angeles, where he will arrive just in time for a viewing party showcasing the upcoming Disney Channel primetime special, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo Choo Express airing Sunday, October 25th (7:00-7:45 p.m. ET/PT).

Families and their kids can track Mickey’s travels online at www.YouTube.com/DisneyLiving, where they can now view the debut of “Mickey’s Evolution,” a video retrospective that reminds us why Mickey Mouse is a bona fide global icon. Fans can also follow Mickey’s virtual train tour on www.Twitter.com/DisneyLiving, and on Facebook, search word: Disney Living, as he makes his way to the Travel Town Railroad Museum in Los Angeles.

The Art Exhibit
The exhibit captures the history of Walt’s and Mickey’s love of trains with a nod to life on the railroad in the early 20th century. Introducing visitors to rare animation art, historic photography and some of Walt’s personal train-related artifacts, the gallery tells the story of a simpler time when Mickey and friends traveled by rail and Walt himself was building one-of-a-kind miniature railroads in his backyard for friends and family. Including photographs of Walt riding the “Lilly Belle” or Mickey rushing to catch a train in an early animation sketch from Mr. Mouse Takes A Trip, this unique art collection comprised of nearly two dozen pieces, will be on display at Union Station from October 10-11, 2009; select images will then move to the Travel Town Railroad Museum in Los Angeles, Calif.

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American Idol Judge Kara DioGuardi Guest Stars on New Episode of ‘Hannah Montana’ October 18

In “Judge Me Tender,” Hannah fills in for Kara DioGuardi alongside judges Andy and Byron on reality show “America’s Top Talent.” Her stint as a guest judge turns complicated when Oliver auditions and delivers a knock-out performance. Oliver turns into a heartthrob overnight and gets so caught up with the attention, he neglects Lilly, so when he is scheduled to perform again, Lilly pressures Miley to give him a bad review so he won’t advance to the next round. Much to their dismay, he delivers another great performance and Miley finds herself stuck between being honest or helping Lilly. Meanwhile, as punishment for receiving a traffic ticket, Robby makes Jackson clean the attic. When another ticket arrives, father and son discover a case of mistaken identity, in a new episode of “Hannah Montana,” premiering SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18 (7:30-8:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. Guest starring is Kara DioGuardi (“American Idol”) as herself, Charles Shaughnessy as Byron and John Henton (“Living Single”) as Andy.

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Oscar® and Grammy Award-Winner Jennifer Hudson Returns to Chicago for Her First Holiday Music Special on ABC

Jennifer Hudson, the multi-talented actress-singer whose accolades include an Academy Award for the movie “Dreamgirls” and a Grammy for “Best R&B Album” heads back to her hometown of Chicago to share childhood memories of the music, people and places that set the stage for her phenomenal success, in the hour-long primetime music special, “Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” airing this December on the ABC Television Network.

Hudson relives her childhood Christmases with musical performances shot on location at the small neighborhood church where she brought the congregation to its feet week after week; the music academy where she studied; and other Chicago sites. Hudson also visits with family members, childhood friends and others whose influences have been instrumental in her rise from humble beginnings to Hollywood stardom.

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Production Begins on All New Disney Channel Original Movie, ‘Starstruck,’ Featuring Hollywood Landmarks

Production has begun on “Starstruck,” a music-filled Disney Channel Original Movie starring Sterling Knight (“Sonny With A Chance”) and introducing Danielle Campbell. Slated to premiere in 2010, the movie is filming in and around Los Angeles at landmark locations including Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, the Hollywood Sign, Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Venice Boardwalk.

The story follows Jessica Olson (played by Campbell), a down-to-earth girl from the Midwest who collides (literally) with Hollywood’s teen heartthrob, pop star Christopher Wilder (played by Knight). They wind up on a love-struck adventure in Southern California, but their bond is tested when she returns home and he publicly denies their relationship.

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D23 Expo: Wizards of Waverly Place Fashion Show, Screening, Panel; Performance by Honor Society

Baljeet, Jeremy, Candace, Buford, Phineas and Ferb in Phineas and Ferb's 'Wizard of Odd' © Disney XD Still flying from winning their Creative Arts Emmy the day before, the cast of Disney Channel’s Wizard of Waverly Place held a panel on Sunday in which thousands of fans were treated also to a brief runway fashion show showing off a clothing line inspired by the show, the premiere of the third season (which airs October 9) and a performance by Disney recording artist Honor Society. Hosted by Radio Disney’s Ernie D, the only cast member unable to appear was David DeLuise who had broken his clavicle at the awards ceremony.

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ABC’s ‘The View’ Launches Search to Find America’s Ultimate Volunteer

Today, in celebration of volunteerism, ABC’s Emmy Award-winning talk and entertainment program, “The View,” launched a search for America’s “Ultimate Volunteer.” The show is asking viewers to nominate someone they know who goes above and beyond to help others in their community and who inspires others to action. The winner will receive one million Starpoints from the award-winning SPG loyalty program of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, plus $10,000 spending cash. In addition, the winner and his or her nominator will travel to New York, where the winner will make a special appearance on “The View” the week of October 19.

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Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Holiday-themed Special Features New Songs from TMBG and ‘Sensational Six’

A primetime special for preschoolers and their families, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Choo Choo Express,” starring Disney’s beloved Sensational Six – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Pluto – premieres SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25 (7:00-7:45 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel. In the colorful special of this Emmy Award-nominated series, Mickey and pals climb aboard the Clubhouse Choo Choo Train for a snow-filled adventure. Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band They Might Be Giants and the Sensational Six themselves each perform a new song in the special.

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New Season of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ is Celebrity-packed with ‘Get on the Bus’ Campaign

Two-time Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton (ABC’s new series “The Middle”) and music group Five For Fighting will be the first stars for Season 7 to volunteer in the GET ON THE BUS campaign on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The new season begins with a two-part episode, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (7:00-8:00 & 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.

Capturing the momentum of the Obama administration’s focus on volunteerism, “EM:HE” will show that community service is cool again with the new GET ON THE BUS campaign. For the first time ever for the series, “EM:HE” will have famous celebrities and extraordinary volunteers GET ON THE BUS for the weeks of house-building during the season. So far the other celebrities volunteering include Tyler Perry, David Duchovny, Mary J. Blige, Clint Black, Xzibit, Trace Adkins, Ashley Tisdale and Kellie Pickler.

When the new season begins, these special guests will contribute far more than special appearances – they’ll be part of the design team. In each episode, the iconic “EM:HE” bus will pick up a new volunteer to join the team and help during the build, providing a rare chance to visit America’s heartland and connect with real people who need help. Celebrity volunteers will pull up their sleeves, create a design project and put their personal stamp on the home. They will get to know the family’s circumstances and needs one on one. In between pouring foundations and framing walls, some of the celebrity volunteers will jump right into the center of the town — connecting with the locals, hanging out with the design team, spearheading a community project and bringing their unique personality and talents to the project. It’s not all hard labor and sweat — every episode has plenty of room for good times with good people. Getting on the bus will allow America to get to know the celebrity volunteers in an entirely new way — as a real person who wants to make a real difference.

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‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ Revamps Money Tree, Allowing Hot Seat Contestants to Walk Away with Even More Money

NEW YORK, Sept. 14  — “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira is making big changes to the show’s “money tree,” giving hot seat contestants the opportunity to win even more money this season! Contestants will still face 15 questions to win the top prize of $1-million, but will be able to reach the higher level questions faster as the monetary values of the first eight questions will increase. The new “money tree” will take effect on Monday, September 14.

Millionaire will no longer start with the first three questions being valued at $100, $200 and $300. Instead, contestants will jump right into big-action game play with their very first question valued at $500. Contestants will reach the first safety level of $5,000 (formerly $1,000) after correctly answering the first five questions. At that point, they are guaranteed to win at least $5,000 from their hot seat appearance. The monetary values for the next three questions will also increase, leading up to the next safety level of $25,000.

“We’ve launched our own little stimulus package this season on Millionaire,” said Michael Davies, Executive Producer on the hit game show. “Regular Americans from all over the country have always been the stars of our show. This season, we’ll be giving them the opportunity to win even more money in the Millionaire hot seat,” he added.

Here is a rundown of the newly revamped Millionaire “money tree”:
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All New Disney/Pixar ‘Cars Toons’ Rev Up on Disney Channel, Disney XD and ABC Family

All-new episodes of Disney•Pixar’s “Cars Toons,” an animated short series directed by Academy Award©-winner John Lasseter with Rob Gibbs co-directing and starring Lightning McQueen’s rusty friend Mater, will debut beginning FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 on Disney Channel, Disney XD and ABC Family. They are titled “Unidentified Flying Mater,” “Monster Truck Mater,” “Heavy Metal Mater” and “Tokyo Mater.”

Mark Mothersbaugh (“Devo”) composed the music for three episodes and BT (“The Fast and the Furious”), a prominent composer of dance and electronic music, scored “Tokyo Mater.”

The four new stories follow the popular shorts that began debuting in October 2008 and which have reached 22.9 million Kids 2-11, or 56% of all kids in that age group in the U.S., and 67.5 million total unique viewers.

“Cars Toons” are directed by John Lasseter, (“Cars,” “Toy Story 2,” “A Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story”) and co-directed by Rob Gibbs (“Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc” and “Toy Story 2″). Kori Rae (“The Incredibles” and “Monsters Inc.”) is the producer. Victor Navone (“Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.”) co-directed the episode “Tokyo Mater.”

In “Unidentified Flying Mater,” premiering Friday, November 20 on Disney Channel, Mater meets a cute little bucktoothed UFO named Mator, takes him out for a night of fun and they quickly become best friends. But when Mator is captured by the military, Mater and Lightning McQueen come to the rescue.

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