Disney/ABC TV Group Announces New 24 Hour Channel: Disney Junior

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Disney JuniorDisney/ABC Television Group will launch Disney Junior, a new multiplatform brand and 24-hour basic cable/satellite channel and online site devoted to preschool-age children. Scheduled to debut in the U.S. in 2012, Disney Junior will invite mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, both classic and new, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7.

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‘Camp Rock 2 The Final Jam’ Official iPhone App with Free Limited-Time Music Download Released

The Camp Rock 2 The Final Jam app is now available from the App Store. The app lets iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users hear music clips, watch videos and more from the Disney Channel Original Movie and its soundtrack.

The Camp Rock 2 app is available for $.99 and features:

  • Free song download “Can’t Back Down,” with vocals from Demi Lovato plus Alyson Stoner, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle and Char Ligera. The free download will be available for the first 30 days, beginning May 26.
  • Exclusive day and date audio and video premieres of Camp Rock 2 music and behind-the-scenes content.

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ESPN2 and ABC to Broadcast Star-Studded FIFA World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert, June 10

ESPN Inc.’s unprecedented coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ from South Africa will kick off before the games even begin when ESPN2 broadcasts complete live coverage of the FIFA World Cup™ Kick-Off Celebration Concert from Soweto/Johannesburg on Thursday, June 10 beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

The three-hour concert, considered the biggest entertainment event to date in South Africa, celebrates the arrival of the first-ever FIFA World Cup™ on the African continent and will take place at 30,000-seat Orlando Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg. Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, Shakira and Juanes will perform live on ESPN2 alongside, and in collaboration with, popular African artists, with a specially-produced highlight presentation of the concert airing in primetime on ABC, Friday, June 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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ABC News Explores Real Life ‘Superhumans’ on 20/20 Special, June 1

Superpowers are usually associated with action superheroes like Superman and Batman. And right now, from hit movies like “Iron Man 2″ to weekly fan conventions across the country, superheroes are bigger than ever. ABC invites you to meet real people with superpowers they’ve developed by dedicating their lives to the basic human urge to overcome limitations to soar by unlocking abilities hidden deep within. A Special Edition of “20/20″ looks at everyday men and women with unbelievable powers, including:

  • A man able to survive 72 minutes in the North Pole in nothing but shorts

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Production on Disney Channel Original Movie ‘Avalon High’ Has Begun in New Zealand

Production has begun in New Zealand on “Avalon High,” a fantasy-filled Disney Channel Original Movie starring Britt Robertson (“Life Unexpected”) and Gregg Sulkin (“Wizards of Waverly Place,” Disney Channel UK’s “As the Bell Rings”). Based on the award-winning novel by best-selling author Meg Cabot (“The Princess Diaries”), the movie follows Allie Pennington, a new student to Avalon High who is shocked to discover that her new classmates are reincarnations of King Arthur and his Court. “Avalon High” is slated to premiere in fall 2010.

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ABC Family Acquires Basic Cable Rights to NBC’s ‘Friday Night Lights’

ABC Family has acquired the basic cable television rights to the Emmy® Award-winning television series “Friday Night Lights,” in a deal with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, it was announced today by Tom Zappala, Executive Vice President, Program Acquisitions & Scheduling, ABC Cable Networks Group, and Frances Manfredi, Executive Vice President/General Sales Manager, Cable and Non-Theatrical Sales for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.

The deal gives ABC Family the rights to five seasons of the critically acclaimed series. ABC Family is tentatively set to begin airing the series’ first season in September 2010. The fourth season of “Friday Night Lights” is currently airing on NBC (Fridays, 8 p.m. ET/PT.)

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Disney Channel Orders New Dance-Filled Buddy Comedy Series, ‘Shake it Up!’

Disney Channel has ordered “Shake It Up!,” a buddy comedy centered around a teen dance show, created by Chris Thompson (“Laverne and Shirley,” “Bosom Buddies,” “The Naked Truth,” “Action”) and executive-produced by Thompson and Rob Lotterstein (“The War at Home,” “Ellen”). It stars 12-year-old Bella Thorne (“Big Love”) and 13-year-old Zendaya. The multi-camera series will begin production in Hollywood, California, in July for a scheduled Fall 2010 premiere on Disney Channel. The announcement was made today by Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment, and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide.

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‘LOST’ Series Finale to be Simulcasted Around the Globe

In purported efforts to thwart online piracy and spoilers, Disney Media Distribution has announced that 59 countries around the world will be allowed to air the series finale of ABC’s LOST (titled ‘The End’) up to 48 hours after its original United States airing, a move that schedules the program several days ahead of its normal schedule in many of the countries.

In addition, viewers in some countries  such as Canada, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom will be able to watch a simulcast of the show’s final episode in sync with the US west coast feed.

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‘Under the Same Moon’ Director Patricia Riggen to Direct Disney Channel’s ‘Lemonade Mouth’

Award-winning film director Patricia Riggen, who directed the critically acclaimed “La Misma Luna” (aka “Under the Same Moon”) and this week presents her short film, “Revolución” at Critics’ Week in Cannes, will direct the music-driven “Lemonade Mouth,” a Disney Channel Original Movie.

The “Lemonade Mouth” script was written by April Blair based on the popular novel by Mark Peter Hughes. Executive-produced by Debra Martin Chase (“Just Wright,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Disney Channel’s “The Cheetah Girls” movies), it will begin production in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in July.

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ABC Owned Television Stations Group President Walter Liss Retires; WABC President Rebecca Campbell Named Successor

Esteemed television executive Walter Liss today announced his retirement as President, ABC Owned Television Stations Group.  He will immediately move into a consultancy role for the Station Group to assist in the transition.

In commenting on the announcement, Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company said, “I’ve worked with Walter for almost 25 years, and I know him to be a one of a kind person: a great executive who knows his business well and has always had a passion for it. He is a no-nonsense guy, who ran the best station group in the country, and loved every minute he spent in the station business! We are all grateful for his leadership, his contributions and his friendship, and we are thankful for ensuring our stations are so well-positioned for the future. Although he has definitely earned the right to retire, he will be sorely missed.”

“I’ve been in this wonderful business for over 50 years.   More than 30 of those years have been with the best Company in the world…The Walt Disney Company,” added Mr. Liss.  “Early next year I’ll go to work on my golf game.  All those guys on the Champions Tour better watch out.”

Walter C. Liss was appointed president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, in May 1999.  In this role he had chief management responsibility for the 10 ABC owned television stations and for the Group’s ABC National Television Sales rep firm.

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