Joe D’Ambrosia Named Vice President, Programming for Disney Junior

Joe D’Ambrosia has been named Vice President, Programming, Disney Junior, it was announced today by Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Disney Junior Worldwide, to whom D’Ambrosia reports. D’Ambrosia joins Disney after nearly two decades of writing, producing and developing children’s television programming and family films at companies including Murray Hill 5 Productions, which he co-founded, Nickelodeon and Sony Pictures Family Entertainment.

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Disney Channel’s Strict ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy

In the original ‘The Flintstones’ series, the only characters of color to appear were natives of Africa who participated in a cave scout jamboree. Worse yet, far off into the distant future, on ‘The Jetsons,’ the universe seemed completely dominated by white people as well.

These were just signs of the times and while toon tones began changing in the 1970s, it’s almost blasphemous nowadays to have a television show that doesn’t include diversity, often to a point where it almost just seems forced.

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‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Enlists U.S. Marines Corps to Help Family of Deployed Serviceman

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is teaming with the Marines for the ultimate call to action in Beaufort, South Carolina to honor Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Dickinson’s family with a new home. Deployed to Afghanistan on November 5th, the soldier’s loving wife and five children are fighting a losing battle to save their home. The scenario is one far too common for many military families across the nation. In his absence, their home continues to depreciate due to spreading mold and flood damage. Despite the deplorable conditions, the family maintain and model their lives in the same way their father honors our country. His wife, India, volunteers on behalf of a military support group, and his oldest children, Grant (16) and Brianna (14), both plan to enlist in the Navy after they graduate from high school to serve and protect the nation. Volunteers and local military will be on hand to lend their efforts and some good old fashioned elbow grease to the Dickinson family.

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Sneak Peek: Emily Shares Her Story on ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’

ABC has just released the following sneak peek at next week’s episode of ‘The Bachelor’ in which contestant Emily Maynard wrestles with the notion of revealing her heart-wrenching story to Bachelor Brad Womack. In the clip below, Emily shares her story with some of the women she’s competing against and shares her fears regarding letting Brad in on her tragic tale.

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‘Disney Junior’ Programming Block to Launch February 14 on Disney Channel

Disney Junior, a new multiplatform destination for kids age 2-7, one that reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary, will debut Monday, February 14 (8:30 a.m., ET/PT), anchored by the new animated series “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” Five other new series also join the Disney Junior schedule: the short form titles “Mickey Mousekersize,” “Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps” (supporting Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living initiative) and “A Poem Is…” (narrated by Jennifer Garner and Katie Holmes, among other familiar voices), and full length series “Babar and the Adventures of Badou” and “Tinga Tinga Tales.” Viewers’ current favorites, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny,” “Special Agent Oso,” “Jungle Junction” and “Imagination Movers,” will also be seen on Disney Junior.

Disney Junior’s animated and live action programming will blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and beloved characters with learning components, including early math and language skills, as well as healthy eating and lifestyles, with an emphasis on social and emotional development.

The announcement was made today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California by Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment, and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide.

Marsh said: “Disney Junior will be an entry point into the world of Disney for young kids, creating a world – online and on-air – that captures the magic of Disney and its classic heartfelt storytelling and timeless characters beloved by generations.”

Disney Junior (currently Playhouse Disney) will be available as a programming block weekdays (4:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., ET/PT) and weekends (4:00–9:00 a.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel in more than 99 million U.S. homes. This year it will also debut on 25 Disney Junior channels (currently Playhouse Disney channels) and free-to-air broadcast partners around the world. In 2012 Disney Junior will debut as a 24-hour basic cable and satellite channel in the U.S.

DisneyJunior.com, an engaging, learning-focused Disney destination for kids age 2-7 and their parents, accompanies the television launch. The site will feature storybooks narrated by popular Disney characters, activities that encourage creativity, over 150 full-length episodes of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny,” “Special Agent Oso” and “Imagination Movers,” and a wide array of 90 games featuring characters from Disney Princesses, “Toy Story” and “Cars,” among other Disney favorites. The site will also debut a “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” supersite, featuring adventure-themed games including “Jake’s Treasure Hunt,” where users help Jake and crew find hidden treasure and escape from Captain Hook, and “Izzy’s Flying Adventure,” where players use Pixie dust to help Izzy and the gang fly off to stop Captain Hook, who has stolen their treasure. A dedicated section for parent and caregivers will highlight character-inspired recipes, crafts and party planning tips and ideas, along with how-to videos.

Beginning Monday, February 7, a full-length preview of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” will be available on Disney Channel on Demand (SVOD) and an 11-minute preview episode will be available on DisneyJunior.com, Disney Channel on Demand (Free VOD), Disney Channel mobile VOD providers and iTunes. As of the February 14 television premiere, the series will be simulcast on Disney Channel’s mobile providers Sprint TV, FloTV and MobiTV. New episodes will be available on DisneyJunior.com, Disney Channel on Demand, Disney Channel mobile VOD and simulcast providers, as well as iTunes and Xbox.

“Jake and the Never Land Pirates” is a new animated adventure series that introduces a crew of kid pirates – leader Jake and pals Izzy and Cubby – and follows their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit two infamous characters, the one and only Captain Hook and Smee, from Disney’s classic “Peter Pan.” The series, which emphasizes teamwork, features original pirate rock music performed by The Never Land Pirate Band. Many of the key creative professionals behind Disney’s #1 series for preschoolers, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” are at the helm of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” Rob LaDuca executive-produces, with Mark Seidenberg serving as producer/story editor, Kelly Ward as voice director and Howy Parkins directing the series. It is a production of Disney Television Animation.

“Mickey Mousekersize,” a new short-form series part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living initiative is hosted by Mickey Mouse and focuses on the fun of exercising, encouraging children at home to get up and move along with Mickey and pals.

“Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps,” a new short-form series part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living features Oso and friends as they watch a live-action kid demonstrate three healthy steps to exercising and eating right. Sean Astin and Brad Garrett star as Oso and Buffo.

“A Poem Is…” is a short-form animated series showcasing poems for children set to scenes and imagery from classic Disney films including “Dumbo,” “Bambi” and “Lady and the Tramp.” Narrated by Katie Holmes and Jennifer Garner, the series is designed to cultivate fond memories of Disney classics for parents and create new ones for kids by introducing young children to the beauty of a poem.

“Babar and the Adventures of Badou” is an updated version of the classic “Babar” series and introduces King Babar’s energetic eight-year-old grandson, Badou, and friends as they explore the world of Celesteville.

“Tinga Tinga Tales” is a vibrant animated adventure series inspired by traditional African animal folktales and the art of Tanzania.

(more…)

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ABC Family Renews ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager,’ ‘Pretty Little Liars’

ABC Family has given new season orders to two of the network’s hit series, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which has been renewed for a fourth season, and “Pretty Little Liars,” which was picked-up for a second season. The new season orders were announced today by ABC Family President Michael Riley at the network’s TCA panel at The Langham Hotel in Pasadena.

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First Look: ‘Lemonade Mouth’ Premiering April 15 on Disney Channel

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Themes of finding your voice, believing in yourself, following your dreams, celebrating family and staying true to yourself resonate in the music-driven Disney Channel Original Movie “Lemonade Mouth.” Geared towards kids, Tweens and families, the movie premieres April 15 at 8:00 pm ET on Disney Channel U.S. and shortly thereafter on Disney Channels around the world.

“Lemonade Mouth” tells the story of how a powerhouse band came to be after five uncelebrated students with a passion for music find each other and ultimately become the voice of their generation.

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ABC Announces 2011-2012 Renewals for Popular Series

A solid mix of promising new series and proven returning hits helped the network achieve a strong start to the 2010-11 TV season. Season to date among Adults 18-49, ABC delivers 4 of the Top 10 highest-rated TV shows, the most for any network, including the Top 2 scripted programs. In fact among young adults, the network claims TV’s No. 1 comedy (“Modern Family”), the No. 1 drama (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and the No. 1 unscripted series (“Dancing with the Stars”). In Total Viewers, the network airs 2 of the Top 4 programs, including America’s No. 1 most-watched TV show overall with “Dancing with the Stars.” Led by Emmy-winning “Modern Family,” ABC’s 2-hour Wednesday night comedy block continues to resonate with viewers in its second year, surging by 15% in Total Viewers and by 14% in the key Adult 18-49 sales demographic from the same point last season.

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Details for Final ‘ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ Event Announced

“All My Children” stars Walt Willey and Bobbie Eakes will co-host the Grand Finale Celebration of “ABC Daytime Salutes Broadway Cares” in New York City on March 13, 2011. Mr. Willey and Ms. Eakes have been part of the benefit since the very first production in celebration of “All My Children’s” 35th anniversary show. Cameron Mathison had previously been announced as host but is now unable to travel to New York due to a scheduling conflict.

Following last year’s rousing musical performance of her rendition of the Tina Turner classic, “Proud Mary,” Sherri Shepherd, co-host of “The View,” returns to the Broadway stage at the 7th annual event. Her headlining number will no doubt bring the audience to their feet once again.

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ESPN to Present ‘Content of Character’ Weekend Event in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

ESPN will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a multiplatform weeklong initiative, “Content of Character”, starting Tuesday, Jan. 11, and ending on the national holiday, Monday, Jan. 17. Highlights include a two-hour “town hall” discussion about the current image of the black athlete with director Spike Lee and other prominent panelists, special segments on SportsCenter and Outside the Lines, SportsNation on location at Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga.) and Southern University (Baton Rouge, La.) and vignettes featuring prominent sports figures speaking about the impact of Dr. King’s legacy.

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