After delivering a year of best-ever ratings across each of its kid-driven, family inclusive platforms, and deepening its strong connection with kids and parents, especially moms, Disney showcased an unprecedented amount of new programming that’s to come — an expanded slate of 13 new original series (part of 435 total original episodes in 2011, a 30% increase from last year, not including acquisitions) and additional new titles in the blockbuster Disney Channel Original Movie franchise at its annual presentation to advertisers today at New York’s Gotham Hall.
At the event, themed “Time to Shine,” Carolina Lightcap, President, Disney Channels Worldwide, highlighted the expanded programming slates, ratings momentum and unique emotional connection to kids and families that’s delivered by each brand in Disney’s portfolio – which includes Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and Radio Disney.
Disney’s new and returning programming was showcased by Gary Marsh, President, Entertainment and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide; and Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide.
Rita Ferro, Executive Vice President, Disney Media Sales and Marketing, presented Disney’s powerful media sales enterprise, through which marketers can reach kids, tweens and moms across every engagement point where they are spending their time: TV, online, mobile and radio. Ferro also highlighted the strength of the flagship Disney Channel in bringing kids and families together — 2011 to date, it reaches more kids, tweens and Moms in primetime than any other cable network.
Hosted by Radio Disney’s Ernie D., the event included a performance by teen superstar Selena Gomez (“Wizards of Waverly Place”), the performance debut of actress and newly signed Hollywood Records recording artist China Anne McClain (“ANT Farm”), a martial arts performance by actor Leo Howard (“Kickin’ It”), a boisterous song by Bones and Sharky of The Never Land Pirate Band (“Jake and the Never Land Pirates”), an appearance by actress Debby Ryan (“Jessie,” “The Suite Life on Deck”) and a high energy dance number by the cast of “Shake It Up” — TV’s #1 series among Kids 6-14: Bella Thorne, Zendaya, Adam Irigoyen, Davis Cleveland, Kenton Duty, Roshon Fegan and Caroline Sunshine.
Highlights of new and returning programming are:
“Gravity Falls” (new animated series)
This animated comedy tells the story of twins Dipper and Mabel – two city kids sent to spend the summer with their crusty old great uncle Stan (aka Grunkle Stan) in Gravity Falls, Oregon. Turns out, Gravity Falls is not a run of the mill vacation spot, but is a strange and wondrous place – home to every weird creature and phenomenon imaginable, from gnomes to time portals to quantum waffles. Created and executive-produced by Alex Hirsch (“Fish Hooks”), the series is a production of Disney Television Animation.
“ANT Farm” (new series)
Set in San Francisco, this comedy revolves around China Parks, an 11-year-old musical prodigy who attends a high school as part of the prestigious ANT (Advanced Natural Talents) program. She, along with her fellow ANTs, Olive and Fletcher, must find her place and make the most of her high school experience despite the decidedly lukewarm welcome from some high school students, including China’s older brother, Cameron, who overcompensates to avoid his sister’s shadow, and overachieving Lexi Reed, who doesn’t appreciate the competition China represents. Starring are China Anne McClain (“House of Payne”), Sierra McCormick (“Ramona and Beezus”), Jake Short (“Shorts”), Stefanie Scott (“Flipped”) and Carlon Jeffery (“Heroes”). Recurring are Finesse Mitchell (“Saturday Night Live”) and Elise Neal (“The Hughleys”). “ANT Farm” was created by Dan Signer (“The Suite Life on Deck,” “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody”) and executive-produced by Signer and Stephen Engel (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Mad About You”). It is from It’s A Laugh Productions, Inc.
“Jessie” (new series)
The sitcom “Jessie,” starring 17-year-old actress and fan-favorite Debby Ryan (“The Suite Life on Deck,” “16 Wishes”), follows a starry-eyed teen from rural Texas who moves to New York City to explore life outside her small town. She soon finds herself living in a multi-million dollar penthouse as nanny to a high-profile couple’s four children, one of their imaginary friends and a pet capybara. As she navigates life in the big city, Jessie finds allies in the frosty butler, Bertram, and the 20-year-old doorman, Tony. The pilot was written by Pamela Eells O’Connell (“Family Matters,” “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “The Suite Life on Deck”), who will serve as the series executive producer. It is from It’s a Laugh Productions, Inc.
“Madison High” (series pilot)
Multi-talented teens Mark Indelicato (“Ugly Betty”), Nolan Sotillo (Disney’s feature film “Prom”) and Katherine McNamara (Broadway’s “A Little Night Music”) join the previously announced cast, Alyson Reed (“High School Musical”), Luke Benward (Disney Channel’s “Minutemen”), Leah Lewis and G Hannelius (Disney Channel’s “Den Brother”), in the music and dance-driven comedy pilot “Madison High” (working title) under consideration for Disney Channel’s schedule. Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush (“High School Musical” and its sequels) and Lester Lewis (“The Office”) and Paul Hoen (“Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”) are the executive producers. The pilot was written by Lester Lewis and is being directed by Paul Hoen. It is from Autumn Harvest Productions, Inc.
“Shake it Up” (returning series)
With a second season renewal announced today, “Shake it Up” will continue to reflect the tween dance culture in a relatable “BFF” buddy-comedy. For 2010 and 2011 to date, “Shake it Up” is the #1 series on TV among Kids 6-11 and Tweens. It introduces best friends CeCe Jones and Raquel ‘Rocky’ Blue, whose dreams of becoming professional dancers are realized when they become background dancers on the most popular teen dance show, “Shake it Up, Chicago!” Created by Chris Thompson (“Laverne and Shirley,” “Bosom Buddies”) and executive-produced by Rob Lotterstein (“The War at Home,” “Ellen”), it is from It’s a Laugh Productions, Inc.
“Phineas and Ferb” (returning series and movie)
The critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning “Phineas and Ferb” is TV’s #1 animated series among Tweens for three years running, and has inspired a Disney Channel Original Movie, “Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension,” that transports Phineas and Ferb to a parallel dimension where a truly evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz is actually succeeding at taking over the world. The movie is set to premiere in summer 2011. The series is on both Disney Channel and Disney XD. Both the series and movie were created and are executive-produced by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. Both are productions of Disney Television Animation. The voice cast includes Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster, Ashley Tisdale, Mitchel Musso, Caroline Rhea, Richard O’Brien, Dee Bradley Baker and Alyson Stoner.
“Good Luck Charlie” (returning series and movie)
2010’s #2 rated TV series among Kids 6-11 and Tweens is also a hit for the entire family. Premiere to date, its new episodes are events with 38% of its Adults 18+ viewers watching with a Kid 6-14. A holiday-themed Disney Channel Original Movie based on the series will premiere in 2011. Starring are Bridgit Mendler, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Bradley Steven Perry, Mia Talerico, Eric Allan Kramer and Jason Dolley. The series was created by Phil Baker and Drew Vaupen (“Suddenly Susan” and “What I Like About You”) and is executive-produced by Baker, Vaupen and Dan Staley (“Cheers,” “Love & Money”). It is a production of It’s A Laugh Productions, Inc.
This Disney Channel Original Movie is an anthology that follows three pairs of friends as they navigate the delicate balance when besties go to worsties, and back again. It is slated for a 2012 premiere. Written by Dava Savel, Wendy Weiner, Jim Krieg and to be directed by Daisy Mayer, the movie’s producers are Les Morgenstein and Bob Levy. It is a production of Alloy Entertainment.
“Geek Charming” (movie)
Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”) and Matt Prokop (“High School Musical 3: Senior Year”) star in this Disney Channel Original Movie, a coming-of-age tale that explores the dynamics of high school popularity and its social hierarchy. Based on the popular young adult novel by Robin Palmer, the movie was written by Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy and will be directed by Jeffrey Hornaday (choreographer of “A Chorus Line,” “Flashdance”). The executive producers are David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (both of “The Muppets,” “The Fighter,” “The Proposal”) and Paul Shapiro (“Detroit 1-8-7”). It is a production of Mandeville Films and Television.
“Kickin’ It” (new series)
In this live action comedy, the owner of the struggling Bobby Wasabi Martial Arts Academy, the worst dojo in the nationwide chain of underperforming dojos, recruits a hotshot skateboarder to teach his students, a ragtag group of neighborhood kids, about life, karate and how to just plain kick it. Starring are Jason Earles (“Hannah Montana”), Leo Howard (“Leo Little’s Big Show”), Mateo Arias, Dylan Riley Snyder (Disney’s “Tarzan” on Broadway), Alex Jones and Olivia Holt. The series was created by Jim O’Doherty (“3rd Rock from the Sun”), who also executive-produces it with Marc Warren (“That’s So Raven”). It is from It’s A Laugh Productions, Inc.
“Ultimate Spider-Man” (new animated series)
The centerpiece of an upcoming Marvel programming block on Disney XD, this animated series from Marvel follows Peter Parker who, as the storyline begins, has been Spider-Man for just one year. He’s fought villains, saved lives, but still has much to learn about being a super-hero. Now, Nick Fury gives Peter the chance to go to the next level — to train to be a real super-hero and become The Ultimate Spider-Man. But before he can do that, Peter will have to learn how to work with a team of fellow teenage super-heroes. The series’ award-winning creative team includes Paul Dini (“Batman: The Animated Series,” “Lost”), the creative powerhouse Man of Action Studios (creators of “Ben 10” and “Generator Rex”), comprised of lauded creators Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle; and Brian Michael Bendis (visionary behind Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man comic series).
“Motorcity” (new animated series)
This animated series is set in a futuristic Detroit owned by evil billionaire Abraham Kane. Having banned personal freedoms including automobile transportation, Kane now faces one last obstacle, a group of hot-rod wielding rebels who call themselves The Burners. Led by Mike Chilton, The Burners rise to stop Kane from conquering Detroit’s last oasis of freedom – an underground refuge dubbed Motorcity. The series, created by Chris Prynoski and produced by Disney Television Animation and Titmouse, Inc., is slated to premiere in winter 2012 on Disney XD. The voice cast is Reid Scott, Nate Torrence, Kate Micucci, Kel Mitchell, Jess Harnell, Brian Doyle Murray, Jim Breuer and Mark Hamill. It is executive produced and directed by Chris Prynoski (“Metalocalypse,” “Megas XLR,” “Downtown”). Craig Lewis (“Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends”) is the story editor and John O’Bryan (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”) and George Krstic (“Star Wars: Clone Wars”) are staff writers.
“Tron: Uprising” (new animated series)
This visually stunning series, scheduled to premiere in fall 2012 on Disney XD, focuses on an era of the “TRON” storyline that transpires after the 1982 feature film and before the story in “TRON: Legacy.” Its impressive list of artists, animators, directors, producers and digital technicians includes executive producer/director Charlie Bean (“Robotboy,” “Samurai Jack,” and “Powerpuff Girls”), and consulting producers Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz (both screenwriters of “TRON: Legacy” / executive producers of “Lost”) and Justin Springer (co-producer of “TRON: Legacy”). The series will be preceded by a 10-part “TRON” micro-series launching in winter 2012 on Disney XD. The voice cast includes Elijah Wood, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Mandy Moore, Nate Corddry, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reubens, Reginald VelJohnson and Bruce Boxleitner.
“Pair of Kings” (returning series)
Buoyed by strong ratings, the series has been renewed for a second season and continues to deliver what kids and especially boys want – fresh relatable storytelling, outrageous adventure and creatively written physical comedy. Starring Mitchel Musso and Doc Shaw, it premiered in September and was Disney XD’s #1 series in 2010 across all key kid and boy demos — including Kids 6-14 and Boys 6-14 — and ranked #2 in Total Viewers behind “Phineas and Ferb,” at least doubling the year-ago time period in core demos.
“Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil” (returning series)
The hit animated series premieres its second season in April, a season filled with notable guest stars including NBA star Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Tony Hawk, Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), Will Forte (“Saturday Night Live”), Rico Rodriguez (“Modern Family”), legendary entertainer Debbie Reynolds and Jay Harris (ESPN’s “SportsCenter”). The series stars Charlie Schlatter, Matt L. Jones, Danny Cooksey, John DiMaggio and Eric Christian Olsen. Recurring are Henry Winkler, Emily Osment, Simon Helberg and Alyssa Milano. Created and executive-produced by Sandro Corsaro and produced and directed by Chris Savino, the series is a production of Disney Television Animation.
“Doc McStuffins” (new animated series)
The doctor is in… and she will launch the 24-hour Disney Junior channel in 2012. “Doc McStuffins” is an imaginative animated series about six-year-old Dottie “Doc” McStuffins, who communicates with and heals stuffed animals and toys out of her backyard clinic. The series will highlight the importance of taking care of oneself and others, while showcasing the hallmarks of great Disney storytelling – fantasy and wish fulfillment. The Hollywood Health & Society division of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center will serve as the health and medical consultant for the series, advising on core health issues that are relevant to young kids and families. Emmy Award-winning writer Chris Nee (“Little Bill”) is the creator and executive producer and Emmy Award-winning Norton Virgien (“Rugrats”) is the director. “Doc McStuffins” is a production of the Dublin, Ireland-based Academy Award-nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films (“Granny O’Grimm,” “Give Up Yer Aul Sins”) in association with Disney Channel.
“Oki’s Oasis” (new animated series)
The first animated western for preschoolers, “Oki’s Oasis” stars Mandy Moore (Disney’s “Tangled”) as the voice of Oki, a kitty cat sheriff in the town of Nice and Friendly Corners, the friendliest town in the West. With the help of her deputy woodpecker, Peck, Oki makes sure the town stays “nice and friendly” and when trouble comes a-calling, she makes sure it doesn’t stay long. The series imparts social skills and lessons on the value of being a “good neighbor.” Produced by George Evelyn and Denis Morella, it is a production of Wildbrain Entertainment.
“Sofia the First” (new animated special and series pilot)
“Sofia the First,” a full length animated special and series pilot, set in the storybook world of the classic Disney Princesses, introduces Sofia, a little girl with a commoner’s background until her mom marries the King and suddenly she is royalty. Sofia is whisked off to the castle, where she learns what it means to be a real princess, discovering empowering lessons about kindness, forgiveness, generosity, courage and self-respect. With the help of the three familiar fairies in charge of the Royal Training Academy – Flora, Fauna and Merryweather of Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty” – Sofia learns that looking like a princess isn’t all that hard, but behaving like one must come from the heart. The writer is Craig Gerber (“The Pixie Hollow Games”) and the executive producer/director is Jamie Mitchell (“Special Agent Oso”). It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
“7D” (new animated series pilot)
Creators, including Walt Disney himself, have long been inspired to access classic folk and fairy tales… reimagining, reinterpreting and reinventing them for new generations. The animated series pilot “7D” takes a new creative approach to the beloved Brothers Grimm tale of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” reimagining it in a comic and contemporary storybook world. The new music-filled stories introduce the whimsical world of Jollywood, where the kind-hearted Queen Delightful calls upon the 7D – Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc – for assistance. Emmy Award-winning Tom Ruegger (“Animaniacs”) directs the pilot written by Craig Shemin (“Tasty Time with ZeFronk”) with character design by Noah Z. Jones (“Fish Hooks”). It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
“Minnie Bow-Toons” (new animated short form series)
This new short form series was inspired by a popular episode of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” that focuses on Mickey’s #1 gal, Minnie Mouse, and her friend Daisy Duck and is set in Minnie’s Bow-Tique (which stocks only bows and bow-ties). Scheduled for a 2011 premiere, it will be followed soon thereafter by a full-length series that takes place at Minnie’s Bow-tique Hotel and follows the comedic happenings as some familiar guests, including the Hippo from “Fantasia,” check in. On any given day, Minnie acts as hostess, party planner, chef, fashion consultant, riding instructor or tour guide, with Daisy taking on the role of a very chatty front desk clerk. Clarabelle is a cow of all trades, taking on a number of jobs – bellhop, maintenance worker, pool attendant, juice bar attendant and room service waitress – all for which she is completely ill-suited. “Minnie’s Bow-Toons” is produced by Kate Boutilier and Eryk Casemiro (“Olivia”) and directed by Robert Ramirez (“Can You Teach My Alligator Manners?”). It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
“Jake and the Never Land Pirates” (animated series)
A second season pick-up was announced for “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” following its remarkable premiere to record-setting ratings on Disney Channel. It is the #1 series on TV among both Kids 2-5 and Boys 2-5 2011 to date, and is posting significant year-to-year time period growth with Kids 2-5 (+40%), Boys 2-5 (+60%), Girls 2-5 (+19%), and notably with Women 18-49 (+36%) and Total Viewers (+37%). The animated adventure 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 learning-focused series emphasizes teamwork and features original pirate rock music performed by The Never Land Pirate Band. The executive producer is Rob LaDuca (“Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”) and producer/story editor is Mark Seidenberg. Kelly Ward is the voice director and Howy Parkins is the director. It is a production of Disney Television Animation.