ABC.com Adds Commentaries to Online Shows from Experts; Invites Viewers to Create Their Own

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Dedicated to expanding its network and channel brands across multiple platforms and connecting viewers with their favorite shows anytime and anywhere, Disney/ABC Television Group will unveil ABC Social: Episode Commentary, a new feature of ABC.com’s Full Episode Player integrated with Facebook Connect, which allows online viewers to create their own commentary tracks to ABC episodes and share the experience with friends. The new Episode Commentary will be available beginning this Saturday, November 7, for the first episode of ABC’s new series “V,” and will feature expert commentary from “V” executive producers Scott Peters and Steve Pearlman. This new feature will roll out across other series on ABC.com over the coming weeks.

“ABC Social: Episode Commentary is great example of how we are continually pushing the envelope to create ‘what’s next’ and use our digital platforms to further engage the core fans of our series,” said Alexis Rapo, vice president, Digital Media, ABC Entertainment. “Now online viewers at ABC.com can not only take part in a world class viewing experience, but also engage with ‘show experts’ and share their own viewer-created commentaries seamlessly within our player – the result is a rich, social experience that can only be found on our site.”

Expert commentary featured in the Full Episode Player will vary from episode to episode and may include insights from a series’ producers, writers and directors, stars of the series, production and costume designers, music supervisors and network executives, among others.

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ABC Announces New Celebrity Comedic Dance Show Hosted by Kathy Griffin

Two-time Emmy Award winner and NY Times best-selling author Kathy Griffin (“My Life on the D-List”) will host “Let’s Dance,” a new, comedic dance series from “American Idol” producers FremantleMedia North America that features stars competing for charity as they pay homage to some of the most famous movie, musical and pop video dance routines of all time. “Let’s Dance” will kick off its five-episode run with a live 90-minute premiere episode on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23 (9:30-11:00 p.m., ET) following the Season 9 finale broadcast of “Dancing with the Stars” on the ABC Television Network. Additional episodes will air on Monday, Nov. 30, Mon., Dec. 7 and Mon., Dec. 14 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) with the finale on Tues., Dec. 15 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET).

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Disney to Build New Production Facility at Golden Oak Ranch

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – The Walt Disney Co. plans to build a 12-stage production facility at its Golden Oak Ranch in the Santa Clarita Valley, northwest of Los Angeles, primarily to serve the production needs of ABC Studios.

Disney and ABC Studios have filed applications with Los Angeles County for Disney/ABC Studios at the Ranch, a high-tech soundstage and production facility. The facility, which would include six pairs of soundstages, would take up 56 acres in the western tip of the 890-acre Gold Oak Ranch.

Disney has only two soundstage facilities, one on the Disney lot, which has virtually no usable outdoor space, and one at its Prospect Studios.

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‘Who Wants to Be A Millionaire’ Adds Questions Asked by Celebrities in November

NEW YORK, Oct. 22 — Meredith Vieira won’t be the only person asking the questions on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” this season. Starting Monday, November 9, Vieira will get assistance from famous names such as Senator John McCain, Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), Shaquille O’Neal (NBA), Jane Lynch (Glee), Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds), Robin Roberts (GMA) and even Cookie Monster (Sesame Street), who will all appear this season to ask questions of contestants in the Millionaire hot seat. Check local listings or go to www.millionairetv.com.

Celebrity Questions will debut Monday, November 9, the first day of the “Million Dollar Tournament of Ten,” during which, one contestant will walk away with $1-million! The Tournament will air November 9 – 20 and will feature the top ten contestants of the season, as they each look at a $1-million question. Contestants will be seeded, based on how much money they won on their previous appearance and how quickly they were able to answer their questions. The 10th seeded player will go first on November 9 and each day through November 20, the next best seeded player will get their own shot at a $1-million question. The top seeded contestant to correctly answer his or her question will walk away with the Tournament’s top prize of $1-million. Tournament finalists will be revealed November 6. Viewers can keep track of the qualifying process through a Leader Board that will be updated each day on the show and on www.millionairetv.com.

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Registration for 2009 Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade Taping Now Open; Days Extended

UPDATE: Registration is currently closed

Walt Disney World is now accepting general requests to attend the taping of the 2009 Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade. As expected, taping will take place during the first weekend of December, but this year, taping will also occur on the Thursday before, making the taping a total of three days, December 3 – 5. Thursday and Friday will consist of performance tapings at Cinderella Castle and in the Main Street USA area while Saturday will be the parade itself (which may also contain additional performances at select locations along the parade route). Guests may opt to choose 1, 2 or all 3 days at time of registration.

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Columnist Sees Red Over New Campaign and Disney’s Green Efforts

Yesterday, we reported on an upcoming ad campaign for the new ABC series ‘V.’ The campaign, which involves skywriting over the landmarks in several U.S. cities, has caught the angry eye of some environmental watchdogs-slash-tv critics such as Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post. In her column today, de Moraes looks at some of the environmental cost of the new campaign, admitting it’s not the end of the world, but definitely calling out The Walt Disney Company as being somewhat hypocritical.

It’s also been barely a month since the environmental activist group Friends of the Earth issued a report card of major cruise lines, ranking Disney Cruise Line last, which you can read more about here.

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New ABC Campaign has Visitors from ‘V’ Marking the Skies Above U.S. Landmarks

NOTE: This promotion has been canceled.

“V” – PREMIERES TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) — “V” is a re-imagining of the 1980s’ miniseries about the world’s first encounter with an alien race. With huge spaceships simultaneously appearing over 29 cities around the world, the Visitors (or V’s) seem to promote a message of peace. Through their generous offer to share advanced technology, the V’s quickly build a following that may be overlooking a more malevolent agenda.

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ABC Debuts Free ‘Dancing with the Stars’ App for iPhone and iPod Touch

ABC today announced the availability of its free “Dancing with the Stars” (DWTS) App from the App Store. The app is a one-stop-shop for fans who can now use their iPhone or iPod touch for deeper access to the hit show, complete with the latest elimination updates, video clips and other fun, interactive features.

In addition to offering users another way to vote for favorites each week, the app features:

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‘Lanny and Wayne, the Christmas Elves in Prep & Landing’ Premieres December 1 on ABC

“Lanny and Wayne the Christmas Elves in Prep & Landing,” ABC’s first television special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, will air TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1 (8:30-9:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.

The half-hour holiday special reveals the never-before-told tale of an elite unit of Elves known as Prep & Landing. Every Christmas Eve this high-tech organization ensures that homes around the world are properly prepared for the yearly visit from The Big Guy, their code name for Santa Claus.

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Oscar® and Grammy Award-Winner Jennifer Hudson Returns to Chicago for Her First Holiday Music Special on ABC

Jennifer Hudson, the multi-talented actress-singer whose accolades include an Academy Award for the movie “Dreamgirls” and a Grammy for “Best R&B Album” heads back to her hometown of Chicago to share childhood memories of the music, people and places that set the stage for her phenomenal success, in the hour-long primetime music special, “Jennifer Hudson: I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” airing this December on the ABC Television Network.

Hudson relives her childhood Christmases with musical performances shot on location at the small neighborhood church where she brought the congregation to its feet week after week; the music academy where she studied; and other Chicago sites. Hudson also visits with family members, childhood friends and others whose influences have been instrumental in her rise from humble beginnings to Hollywood stardom.

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