‘General Hospital’s’ Damian Spinelli to be Featured in Novel from Disney Hyperion

Following the success of the New York Times bestselling books, ‘The Killing Club’ and ‘Charm!,’ Hyperion and ABC Daytime announced today that they will join efforts to publish a novel based on Damian Spinelli, one of the most beloved characters on ABC-TV’s popular daytime soap, ‘General Hospital,’ to coincide with the show’s 48th anniversary.

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ABC to Air Rascal Flatts Musical Concert Special on March 12

The ABC Television Network presents “Rascal Flatts: Nothing Like This Presented by JCPenney.” One of the best touring acts in country music with over 6 million concert tickets sold, Rascal Flatts will film a live music special from the Xcel Energy Center this Friday, January 21st in St. Paul, Minnesota. The show is being filmed during a regularly scheduled date on their “Nothing Like This” tour, which launched this past weekend. “Rascal Flatts: Nothing Like This Presented By JCPenney” airs Saturday, March 12 from  8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on ABC.

George Flanigen will direct the special and Robert Deaton will executive-produce.

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Mystery, Fantasy, Fear and Jealousy Rule Next Episode of ABC’s ‘The Bachelor’ (Spoilers)

The drama continues to escalate as 14 fortunate bachelorettes try to stake their claim to Brad’s heart. But the week gets off to a mysterious start when one baffled bachelorette wakes up with a black eye – and has no clue about how she got it. Did she fall while sleep walking or is it just a disturbing ploy to get Brad’s attention? The Bachelor has an underwater fantasy in mind when he takes Chantal on a one-on-one date to beautiful Catalina Island, but the thought of submerging to the ocean floor has the nervous bachelorette wondering if she left her sense of adventure on shore. A group of the ladies have one of the most revealing dates of the season as they join Brad as guests on an emotional radio show where secrets are uncovered about the women’s love lives. And the bruised Michelle finds out she must take a courageous leap of faith with Brad or risk falling from his favor. Finally, Emily becomes the target of fiery jealousy among the women when Brad offers her a special picnic right before the rose ceremony, on “The Bachelor,” Monday, January 24 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

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Diane Sawyer to Interview Shooting Victim Gabrielle Gifford’s Husband on 20/20 Special Edition

In his first interview since the tragic shootings at the Safeway in Tucson, Arizona, Capt. Mark Kelly sits down one-on-one with Diane Sawyer to offer an intimate portrait of a modern American love story, and to talk about a great national tragedy and finding the strength to heal. Their emotional conversation took place one week after the tragic shooting.

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Regis Philbin Announces Retirement from ABC’s ‘LIVE!;’ Replacement TBA

Regis Philbin announced today that he will be retiring from the very successful, long-running talk show “LIVE! with Regis and Kelly.”  Philbin made the announcement live on-air this morning during the Host Chat portion of the show.

As Philbin stated to the viewers this morning, “This will be my last year on this show. It’s been a long time, it’s been 28 years since I’ve been here… There is a time that everything must come to an end…”  Referring to his remaining time on the show he added, “We’ll have a lot of fun between now and then.”

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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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