Katie Couric Joins Disney/ABC TV Group in Multi-Platform Deal

Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) has signed a multi-year, multi-platform agreement with Katie Couric, award-winning journalist, best-selling author and popular TV personality, to host and produce her own nationally syndicated talk show and to join the ABC News team, it was announced today by Anne Sweeney, president, Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chair, Disney Media Networks. The program will be distributed by Disney/ABC Domestic Television and will premiere in September 2012.

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Bridgit Mendler’s ‘We Can Change the World’ to Premiere on Disney Channel, Radio Disney on June 10

“We Can Change the World,” the inspiring new pop/rock anthem for Disney’s Friends for Change — performed and co-written by 18-year-old actress and Hollywood Records recording artist Bridgit Mendler (“Good Luck Charlie,” “Lemonade Mouth”) — will premiere Friday, June 10 on Radio Disney at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT and Disney Channel in the 7:00 pm ET/PT hour. Beginning Saturday, June 11, the song will be available on Disney.com/ProjectGreen and the music video will be available at iTunes. Coinciding with its premiere, Disney will donate $250,000 to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund benefiting global charities. “We Can Change the World” is the third Disney’s Friends for Change anthem. Previous songs have helped raise more than $800,000 for conservation projects around the globe.

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‘Shake It Up’ Dance Contest Awards Winner Role on Future Episode

Leveraging the success of the hit dance-driven series “Shake It Up,” Disney Channel will launch its first-ever talent competition exclusively for kids and tweens, “Make Your Mark: Ultimate Dance Off – ‘Shake It Up’ edition,” where kids will help decide the winner. Beginning Friday, July 1, with the consent of a parent, kids will have the opportunity to show off their “mad dance skills” by uploading their own short dance video, up to 45 seconds long, for a chance to compete in the ultimate dance off to air on Disney Channel this October. The Grand Prize includes a performance in an episode of “Shake It Up.”

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On Next ‘Bachelorette:’ Jeff Unmasked, Bentley Drops Bomb and Jokes Go Too Far (Minor Spoilers)

One jaw-dropping week is all it takes to put Ashley’s journey into a tailspin and threaten her opportunity for the future happiness she is seeking. It all starts with one of the largest orchestrated flash mobs in history, which serves as a backdrop for a wild individual date. Ashley chooses Ben C. to “trip the light fantastic” with her – and hundreds of strangers. However, the Bachelorette finds herself the target of a comedy roast when 10 men take playful aim at their heart’s desire. But William foolishly steps over the line and bring her to tears. Bentley rushes to comfort her – but little does she know that this is all a part of his huge, selfish ruse. And when he dishes out some devastating news to Ashley, she is shocked and destroyed. Will she be able to recover in time for another date, or will thing spiral even further out of control? On a tense night, Ashley provokes panic among the bachelors when she cancels the cocktail party, but will she be able to right the ship and move on to find love? “The Bachelorette” airs Monday, June 6 at 8:00 pm on ABC.

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‘Switched at Birth’ Digital Scavenger Hunt Awards $4K Prize from ABC Family

On Tuesday, May 31st, ABC Family will launch “Switched at Birth: Hunt for the Code,” an online scavenger hunt game, as part of the network’s launch of its new one-hour scripted original drama series “Switched at Birth,” premiering Monday, June 6th at 9:00PM ET/PT. To enter the game, viewers can log onto www.abcfamily.com/switchedatbirthgame.

“Switched at Birth” tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. Bay Kennish grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and a brother, while Daphne Vasquez, who lost her hearing at an early age due to a case of meningitis, grew up with a single mother in a working class neighborhood. Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.

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National Spelling Bee Finals to be Presented by ESPN, ESPN3.com

ESPN will present live coverage of the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals from Washington, D.C., beginning with the preliminary rounds Wednesday, June 1, at 8 a.m. ET, on ESPN3.com, through the semifinals and finals Thursday, June 2, on ESPN and ESPN3.com. Every speller on the stage will be featured on an ESPN network. This is ESPN’s 18th straight year of televising the Spelling Bee Finals.

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Production Begins on ‘Austin & Ally’ Sitcom for Disney Channel

Disney Channel has ordered “Austin & Ally,” an original, live-action comedy series chronicling the friendship of an unlikely duo whose lives unexpectedly enliven when one becomes an overnight Internet musical sensation. The multi-camera series will begin production in Hollywood this summer for a scheduled late 2011 premiere on Disney Channel.

Starring are newcomer Ross Lynch as Austin, Laura Marano (“Without a Trace,” “Back to You”) as Ally, Raini Rodriguez (Disney’s Prom, “I’m in the Band”) as Trish and Calum Worthy (“Psych,” “Good Luck Charlie”) as Dez.

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Colbie Caillat, Jabbawockeez to Appear for ‘The Bachelorette’s’ First Kiss (Minor Spoilers)

Hearts are wild, as Ashley gambles hers in sizzling Las Vegas. The dates for this week have the 18 remaining bachelors dreaming of finding true love with the Bachelorette. Once at the mansion, they quickly learn that roses will be at stake on the one group date and on two individual dates with Ashley. However, the competition is revved up when they learn that not all the men will get dates before the next rose ceremony, so the bachelors must take advantage of every opportunity to score points with the Bachelorette. But after careful deliberation, Ashley must eliminate three men, as she tries to make her fairytale come true, on “The Bachelorette,” Monday, May 30 at 8:00 pm ET/PT on the ABC Television Network.

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HGTV’s ‘My Yard Goes Disney’ Episodes Inspired by Animal Kingdom, Disney Cruise Line

HGTV has debuted its page for its new show ‘My Yard Goes Disney,’ which begins airing on the network on June 6, 2011. Hosted by television and film star (not to mention host of HGTV’s own ‘Get Out, Way Out!’) Brandon  Johnson, the show sets out to bring a taste of Disney Parks to the backyards of Orlando-area families.

We previously shared with you a first look at some of the results of the first episode featuring the Blackburn family, but now HGTV has laid out the initial schedule and provides some details on what each episode will bring viewers, not to mention some very lucky homeowners.

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‘Gulliver Quinn’ Comedy Series Pilot Starring Jon Heder to be Produced for Disney XD

Actor, screenwriter and filmmaker Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Blades of Glory”) will star in and executive-produce “Gulliver Quinn” (working title), a comedy series pilot for Disney XD, it was announced today by Adam Bonnett, senior vice president, Original Programming, Disney Channels.

Set in present day, the comedy follows Gulliver Quinn, a grown man enrolled in the seventh grade after his family returns from a 15-year research expedition — and living in a cave in remote northwest India. There, mom and dad pursued their long held goal, creating a documentary film on a rare tortoise, and Gulliver grew up acquiring awesome skills such as lightning-quick reflexes and the ability to see in the dark.

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