‘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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Sneak Peek: ‘Mean Girls 2′ Debuting on ABC Family January 23

ABC Family's 'Mean Girls 2' stars Jennifer Stone as Abby Hanover, Meaghan Martin as Jo, Maiara Walsh as Mandi DuPont, Claire Holt as Chastity and Nicole Anderson as Hope. (ABC FAMILY/BOB D'AMICO)

Thanks to our friends at ABC Family, we have a first look at the upcoming worldwide premiere of Paramount Famous Productions’ Mean Girls 2, the long-awaited follow-up to the 2004 hit film Mean Girls.

In the film, new girl Jo (Meaghan Martin) arrives at North Shore High School with a main goal of skating under the radar to survive her senior year and definitely not get involved in any of the typical high school trappings. But her plan goes awry quickly when she meets Abby (Jennifer Stone), a girl stuck at the low end of the high school food chain and favorite target of “The Plastics” (Maiara Walsh, Claire Holt and Nicole Anderson). After defending Abby against the queen bee of the school and lead Plastic, Mandi (Walsh), Jo is dragged into the very same girl drama she was hoping to avoid. Tim Meadows returns as the school’s principal, Mr. Duvall.

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ABC.com Launches ‘Cougar Town’ Webisode Series, ‘Andy’s Dreams’

“Cougar Town” fans can now enjoy even more of the hit comedy series online with an all-new companion webisode series featuring Andy Torres (Ian Gomez) and his wacky dreams in a short-form web series entitled “Andy’s Dreams.”

Sponsored by Diet Dr. Pepper, the webisode series is centered on Andy’s dreams about himself and his friends. Every day he takes a ritual siesta, where he can let his mind wander into an escapist and over-the-top fantasy world, and each webisode explores a different dream. New webisodes will premiere on ABC.com each Wednesday evening for the next six weeks.

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ABC Daytime and TV Land Announce Unprecedented Crossover Event

ABC Daytime and TV Land have joined forces to create an unprecedented network event where characters from “All My Children” and “Hot in Cleveland” cross over to continue a storyline established on last season’s “Hot in Cleveland.” The story revolves around Wendie Malick’s character, Victoria Chase, and her industry-nemesis, Susan Lucci. The two-part “Hot in Cleveland” episodes will air on TV Land on February 16 and 23 at 10:00 p.m., ET/PT, and the “All My Children” episode will air on ABC at 1:00 p.m., ET/12:00 p.m., PT on February 24.

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ESPN 3D to Air Programming in 3D 24/7 Beginning February 14, 2011

A year ago on this date ESPN announced the launch of an event-based only 3D network which would air nearly 100 events in its first year. Today the company announced at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show that ESPN 3D will now air content 24-hours a day. As of Feb. 14, 2011, the network will show replays of previously televised ESPN 3D events when the network is not showing a live event.

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