‘Hairspray’s’ Nikki Blonksy Cast as Star in New ABC Family Series ‘Huge’


Golden Globe®-nominated Nikki Blonsky (“Hairspray”) has signed to star in the new ABC Family original scripted drama series, “Huge,” which will begin production next month (April) and is set to premiere on the network in summer 2010. Funny, heartbreaking and provocative, “Huge” follows the lives of seven teens and the staff at a weight-loss camp, as they look beneath the surface to discover their true selves and the truth about each other.

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Miley Cyrus to Mentor/Perform on American Idol; Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato Also Set to Perform

First the show inspired the attraction, then the attraction spawned a contestant and now Disney is invading the stage this week as Miley Cyrus will not only mentor the Billboard #1 hits themed show this week, but she will also perform her song When I Look of You from her upcoming film The Last Song. Also joining Miley on stage during the results show on Wednesday night will be Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato performing their new joint Make a Wave which will be featured in Disneynature’s upcoming release OCEANS.

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ESPN Launches Unprecedented Cross-Media Research Initiative: ESPN XP

ESPN XP

Today at the ARF’s Re:think 2010 conference, ESPN Research+Analytics revealed plans for ESPN XP, a research initiative unprecedented in its scope, to study consumer behavior around major sporting events beginning with the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.  Using one of the largest collections of research companies ever assembled plus a top-tier business school, ESPN XP will attempt to measure media usage and advertiser effects for the World Cup across all media platforms – TV, radio, Internet, mobile and print.

“We have learned a lot about cross-media behavior since we began work in this field in 2002,” said Artie Bulgrin, Senior Vice President, Research and Analytics.  “ESPN XP represents a major step forward in our commitment to further advance our knowledge about multi-media use, and the total and incremental impact it has on our clients’ media campaigns.”

Companies joining ESPN in this initiative include The Keller Fay Group, Knowledge Networks, The Media Behavior Institute, The Nielsen Company and The Wharton Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI).  Additional members of the collective will be announced at a later date.

ESPN XP is unique because it represents the first time a media company has attempted to measure all media platforms around a single event, including both media usage and advertiser effects.  It is different from previous work on cross-media audiences because it is an ongoing initiative — measuring the World Cup is only the first project in a series of quarterly projects to fall under the ESPN XP umbrella.  ESPN will take the best of what is learned from the World Cup and apply it to football in the fall and other sports during 2011.   The goal is to create a scalable research plan to measure cross-media audiences 12 months out of the year by 2012.

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Walt Disney Company’s Robert Iger Responds to Passing of Fess Parker

Fess Parker's window in Frontierland in Disneyland. Photo © Stitch Kingdom. All Rights Reserved.As many of you are aware already, Fess Parker, best known for his portrayal as Davy Crockett, passed away earlier today at the age of 85. Parker was named a Disney Legend in 1991 and is held in such high regard that he even has a window dedicated to him in Disneyland’s Frontierland (pictured), an extreme honor typically reserved only for the windows on the buildings along Main Street USA.

In reaction to the news, Robert Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, and life long Davy Crockett fan issued this statement:

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Singer Shakira to Guest Star on ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ April 16

Two-time Grammy and seven-time Latin Grammy Award-winning artist Shakira and comedian Jeff Garlin guest star in a new episode of the hit comedy series, “Wizards of Waverly Place,” during Disney Channel’s popular programming event, “Night of Premieres,” FRIDAY, APRIL 16 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET/PT).  The evening also includes new episodes of the hit series “The Suite Life On Deck,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Phineas and Ferb” and the Disney XD comedy “I’m In The Band.”

In the episode, titled ‘Dude Looks Like Shakira,’ Alex, Justin and Max are shocked to discover that their Uncle Kelbo (Jeff Garlin) has transformed into international music sensation Shakira after he failed to follow the Main Eleven Wizards Rules.

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Millionaire Goes Dancing Beginning March 29: Special ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Themed Shows

Tune in for the “Dancing with the Stars” Edition of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” to see host Meredith Vieira cut a rug on the “Millionaire” set. The week-long specialty series will air March 29 – April 2. All week fans of the hit reality show will take to the “Millionaire” hot seat with a chance to walk away with $1-million. In addition to general trivia, contestants will also face questions about the “Dancing with the Stars” series, some of which will feature clips from the ABC show. Check local listings or go to www.millionairetv.com for more information.

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Disney Channel Launches Site for ‘Good Luck Charlie’

Good Luck Charlie WebsitePremiering on Sunday, April 4 at 8:30 PM ET/PT, Good Luck Charlie, the new family-oriented Disney Channel comedy, now has a website of its own which can be found at GOODLUCKCHARLIE.COM. The site currently offers games, photos from the series and introductory videos.

The comedy revolves around what happens when a new baby joins the Duncan household and roles shift for everyone in the family, including teen siblings PJ and Teddy and tween brother Gabe who must adjust to the many changes baby Charlie brings.  Before they know it, she’s sitting up, crawling, walking and running — requiring them to team up and help their parents, Bob and Amy, look after the cute little newcomer.  In each episode Teddy creates a personalized video diary for Charlie, an older sister telling her baby sister about all the things she’ll help her learn as she grows up.

In the premiere episode, “Study Date,” Amy is fretting as she returns to work as a nurse, but Bob reassures her that they have a support system to care for Charlie.  That is until Teddy’s distracted by a study session with a cute classmate, PJ is trying to have a jam session with his friend and Gabe is feeling as if their territory has been invaded.  When Bob slips and falls on the stairs, Charlie is put in the sole care of Teddy and PJ drives his dad to the hospital where they go to great lengths to avoid mom.

The talented “Good Luck Charlie” cast is:  Bridgit Mendler (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) as Teddy, Jason Dolley (“Cory in the House”) as PJ, Bradley Steven Perry as Gabe, Leigh-Allyn Baker (“Will & Grace”) as Amy, Eric Allan Kramer (“My Name Is Earl”) as Bob, and newcomer Mia Talerico as Charlie.
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Music and Choreographers for ‘Thin Ice’ Skating Reality Competition Announced

Music and choreographer details have been unveiled for “Thin Ice,” a live, televised figure-skating reality competition that will originate from the Premier Ballroom of the MGM Grand at Foxwoods March 18 through 21, and will air in primetime on the ABC Television Network on March 19 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) and March 21 (7:00-8:00 p.m., ET).

Joannie Rochette, the courageous Canadian figure skater who won a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver just four days after losing her mother to a heart attack, will perform in the March 19 show, skating to “Vole” (English translation: “Fly”) by her late mother’s favorite artist, fellow Canadian Celine Dion. The song includes the touching and appropriate lyrics “Fly fly little flame/Fly my angel, my soul/Leave your misery’s skin/Go rediscover the light.”

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ABC Launches ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Promo at the Grove in Los Angeles

Beginning Wednesday, March 17, ABC will launch a full hydro projection video and audio to promote the upcoming season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” See current and former stars, along with the professional dancers, dancing on water in the fountain at the Grove shopping center in Los Angeles (on the water fountain across from Pacific Theatres). The captivating video, which will be projected four times per hour starting at approximately 7:00 PM PT and then repeated every hour, will be set to music leading up to the “Dancing with the Stars” two-hour season premiere on MONDAY, MARCH 22 (8:00-10:02 p.m., ET) on ABC.

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‘Alice in Wonderland’ Tech, ESPN 3D to Headline 2010 National Association of Broadcasters Show

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has announced a couple of Content Theater Sessions for the 2010 NAB Show which bring Disney technology to the forefront. The show takes place in Las Vegas from April 10-15.

In ‘Alice in Wonderland’: Turning Fantasy into Motion Picture Reality,the session will will explore both the production and post production processes, and will describe the challenges of creating characters of unique heights and proportions with special attention to the hybrid of live action and visual effects and the conversion of 2D to stereoscopic 3D. Expected to appear on the panel are: Art Repola, executive vice president of visual effects and production, The Walt Disney Studios; Ken Ralston, multi Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor for the film; Corey Turner, stereographer for the film; and Tom Peitzman, co-producer/visual effects producer for the film. The session is scheduled to place Monday, April 12.

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