Playhouse Disney Favorite ‘Chuggington’ Goes Full Steam Ahead Towards Second Season

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Ludorum plc, a leading specialist in the creation of global pre-school children’s IP, announced today that it has licensed the second season of 13 half hour episodes of Chuggington, its successful train-based, CGI-animated series, to Disney Channel for its Playhouse Disney programming block in the United States. The acquisition of the second season follows the success of the first season of 26 half hours which commenced broadcast on Playhouse Disney in January 2010 and currently airs seven days a week. The channel has acquired all U.S. television rights to the property.

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Production Has Begun on Disney Channel Original Movie ‘Lemonade Mouth’ Starring Bridgit Mendler

Production has begun in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the music-driven “Lemonade Mouth,” a Disney Channel Original Movie that tells kids and tweens that building your confidence rocks and finding your destiny rules. The story follows five disparate high school students who meet in detention, realize they are destined to rock, and ultimately form a band that becomes a champion for students sidelined by the high school elite.

The movie was written by April Blair based on the book Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes, and is directed by award-winning Patricia Riggen (“La Misma Luna” aka “Under the Same Moon”) and executive-produced by Debra Martin Chase (“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Disney Channel’s “The Cheetah Girls” movies) and choreographed by Chris Scott. It is scheduled to premiere in 2011 on Disney Channel.

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Dramatic Life Changes Chronicled in ABC News 20/20 ‘Before and After’ Edition, August 6

Among those profiled on the Before and After edition of ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, August 6:

  • David Smith, a former friendless shut-in who once weighed 630 lbs, lost an astounding 401 lbs with the help of his first true friend, a fitness trainer named Chris Powell. Not only did Powell help with the weight loss, he was instrumental in helping Smith – painfully shy and awkward around women – hit the singles scene in search of true love. Smith’s incredible transformation even led him to become a personal trainer himself. Chris Connelly reports.

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Disney XD’s ‘Zeke and Luther’ to Return for Third Season

Disney XD has ordered a third season of the hit comedy series “Zeke and Luther.” The announcement was made today by Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment, and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide. New episodes of the buddy comedy about two best friends determined to achieve epic skateboarding status will begin production fall 2010 in and around southern California. Starring are popular teen actors Hutch Dano, Adam Hicks, Ryan Newman and Daniel Curtis Lee.

In making the announcement, Marsh said: “We have great comedic talent on camera and behind the scenes, and we join its growing fan base in looking forward to a third season of the unique and relatable storytelling that has made ‘Zeke and Luther’ so popular, especially among boys.”

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Disney/ABC Television Group Names ABC Family’s Paul Lee as New ABC Entertainment President

Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman Disney/ABC Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group today announced today that former ABC Family President Paul Lee has been named President, ABC Entertainment Group, effective immediately.

In his new role with the ABC Entertainment Group, Lee has oversight of all creative and business operations for ABC Studios, as well as all development, programming, marketing and scheduling operations for ABC Entertainment.

In discussing the announcement, Sweeney stated: “Paul was hired six years ago because of his great creative instincts and his ability to identify an audience and develop programming that resonates with them, and those same strengths are why he was tapped for this new responsibility. Paul’s success at ABC Family is as amazing as it is indisputable, and I’m looking forward to his continued success on ABC.”

Lee added: “I’m proud of everything we achieved at ABC Family, and I’m looking forward to working with another great team at ABC Entertainment Group to bring even more compelling stories to viewers. ABC is a great network defined by creativity and known for delivering some of the best shows on television. I’m excited to be part of it, and deeply honored to be chosen for the unique opportunity to lead the network and the brand into the future.”

Lee arrived at ABC Family in 2004 and revitalized it with an ambitious slate of original and acquired programs. In conceiving the mission of the network, he launched a plan to target the young adult Millennial audience on multiple platforms with relatable programming like “Kyle XY,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Greek,” “Make It or Break It” and “Huge.” The network is also home to the biggest programming event on cable with “25 Days of Christmas.”

Under Lee, ABC Family had an amazing six+ years of consecutive growth. 2010-to-date, ABC Family ranks among the Top 5 cable networks in Prime in W18-49 (No. 5), W18-34 (No. 4), F12-34 (No. 2), Teens (No. 3) and Female Teens (No. 3), and among the Top 10 in Total Viewers (No. 10), A18-49 (No. 10), A18-34 (No. 8) and V12-34 (No. 7). ABC Family has also grown its Prime audience by impressive margins: +74% in Total Viewers, +70% in A18-49 and +75% in W18-49. Among the network’s core younger demo sets, the network’s Prime delivery has also more than doubled over the past six+ years: +111% in A18-34, +115% in W18-34, +111% in V12-34.

Under Lee’s leadership, ABC Family made the most of new platforms to connect viewers with content. The industry recognized this push for creativity and innovation on this front by awarding ABC Family a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Television, as well as an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media the following year.

An announcement regarding a new ABC Family President will be made in the near future.

Prior to joining ABC Family, Lee was chief executive officer and founder of BBC America, and was responsible for the development and launch of the company in March 1998, starting as general manager and then chief operating officer. During his tenure, the hit comedy series “The Office” (British version) garnered two Golden Globes(r). Other shows under his supervision included the BBC’s “Changing Rooms,” which formatted into TLC’s signature show, “Trading Spaces,” “What Not to Wear” and the “Graham Norton Show.”

(more…)

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Walt Disney Records Invites Fans Who Pre-Order ‘Hannah Montana Forever’ Soundtrack to Become Part of Celebratory Farewell

Walt Disney Records announces an exciting opportunity to be part of the Hannah Montana Forever soundtrack! By pre-ordering the album before September 3, 2010, the first 10,000 fans can add their photo to the official Hannah Montana Photo Mosaic and get the poster delivered right to them by mail with the official soundtrack. The photo will also be included in an official music video that will air on Disney Channel. Fans will also instantly get the track “Ordinary Girl” from the Hannah Montana Forever soundtrack out this fall and an additional song when it becomes available before the album release.

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Report: Disney XD’s ‘Phineas and Ferb’ Panel at 2010 San Diego Comic-con (Some Spoilers)

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Phineas and Ferb creators and cast members Dan Povenmire (Doofenshmirtz) and Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh (Major Monogram) were joined by fellow cast members Mitchel Musso (Jeremy, others), Vincent Martella (Phineas), Caroline Rhea (Mom) and Kelly Hu (Stacy) at San Diego Comic-con for a packed-room panel to discuss the popular Disney XD show and give a sneak peek into what we can expect to see in the future.

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ABC Entertainment Group President Stephen McPherson Resigns

According to the Disney/ABC Television Group:

Steve McPherson today submitted his resignation as President, ABC Entertainment Group, and the Company accepted.  Mr. McPherson said, “I want to thank the wonderful team of individuals who have worked with me throughout my time here and wish them nothing but the best.”  A replacement for McPherson will be announced shortly.

According to his studio bio, which has been removed from the official DATG website, McPherson joined ABC Entertainment in 2004 and has been the driving force behind the network’s primetime comeback, developing quality content and then supporting it with more strategically directed marketing. The ABC Entertainment Group has delivered some of the most successful, talked-about and evolutionary series on television today, including “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “Modern Family.”

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First Look: Clay Aiken in Phineas and Ferb’s ‘Summer Belongs to You’ on Disney XD

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Disney XD has just released these stills featuring guest star and American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken from the upcoming ‘Phineas and Ferb’ one-hour special ‘Summer Belongs to You’ which premieres on Disney XD on August 2 at 8:00 pm ET/PT and on August 6 on Disney Channel.

As the story goes, it’s the summer solstice and because it’s the longest day of the year, stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb decide to travel around the world in one day.  But not everyone believes they can actually achieve what they’ve set out to do, leading them to get some encouraging words, in the form of a duet, from Clay Aiken and Chaka Khan.  Meanwhile, Dr. Doofenshmirtz takes a father-daughter trip to Tokyo with Vanessa.

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