Disney will introduce a little girl princess to its celebrated legacy of princess fairytales in an animated television movie and series, “Sofia the First,” premiering in fall 2012 and spring 2013 respectively, on Disney Channel and Disney Junior channels around the world. While Disney princess fairytales have been enchanting audiences for more than 70 years, this is the first time a series has centered around a princess as a little girl. The stories are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to preschool-aged children. The series and movie are productions of Disney Television Animation.
“Sofia the First” stories are set in the storybook world of young Sofia who starts out life as a regular girl. But when her mom marries the king, she is whisked off to a glamorous, but sometimes confusing, castle world of royalty, pomp and new step-siblings, Amber and James. “Sofia the First” will include appearances by Fauna, Flora and Merryweather (fairies seen in Disney’s classic “Sleeping Beauty”) as the headmistresses of Royal Prep, the academy that Sofia, along with other princes and princesses, attends. Special event appearances will be made by classic characters including Cinderella and other Disney Princesses.
In announcing the series, Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, said, “In Sofia, we have a ‘peer to peer princess,’ a relatable girl experiencing the same social issues as our young viewers – learning how to fit in, making new friends, conquering new skills and building sibling relationships.” She continued, “Although Sofia will have plenty of pretty dresses and sparkly shoes, our stories will show Sofia, and our viewers, that what makes a real princess is what’s inside, not what’s outside. That the inner character of kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty and grace make you special, not the dress you wear.”
Providing the voice of Sofia is Ariel Winter (ABC’s “Modern Family”). Also highlighting the voice cast is Sara Ramirez (ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) as Queen Miranda; Wayne Brady (“Whose Line Is It Anyway?) as Clover, a wise-talking Rabbit; and Tim Gunn (ABC’s “The Revolution,” “Project Runway”) as Baileywick, the family’s Royal Steward. The actors providing the voices of King Roland, Amber and James will be announced soon.
The series was developed by Craig Gerber (“Pixie Hollow Games”) who also wrote the movie. Jamie Mitchell (“Special Agent Oso”) serves as both Executive Producer and Director on the series. Gerber is Co-Executive Producer and serves as the Story Editor.
Photo courtesy Disney Junior
Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior unwrap a joyful slate of new holiday specials for kids and families beginning Friday, December 2. The festive fare includes the premiere of Disney Channel Original Movie “Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas!,” worldwide music sensation Justin Bieber performing his new holiday hit “Mistletoe” on “So Random!,” Grammy-Award winner Kelly Clarkson guest starring in a seasonal special of “Phineas and Ferb” and more.
To get in the spirit, viewers are invited to visit DisneyChannel.com, DisneyXD.com and DisneyJunior.com for holiday activities and games. Among them are a new “Pair of Kings” game, “Super Sled Scramble,” launching Friday, November 18, and “Snoco Launcho,” a winter version of the popular “Loco Launcho” game, debuting Thursday, December 1 at DisneyXD.com/Holidays. Beginning Friday, December 2 at DisneyChannel.com/Holiday, users are invited to build a personalized snowman greeting for family and friends, and at DisneyJunior.com/Holiday, a new “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” interactive game will debut – “Hook’s Merry Winter Treasure Hunt,” where kids and parents can help Captain Hook and Mr. Smee search for Jake and the crew’s missing presents. On Saturday, December 17, the site will debut the “Imagination Movers” holiday episode “A Little Elf Esteem” prior to its premiere on Disney Junior.
Following are the highlights for Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD’s Holiday Line-up (all times ET/PT):
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2
7:30 p.m. – “Fish Hooks,” “Merry Fishmas, Milo”
Milo and Oscar throw a Christmas party, but when they need help with the party prep, they send a special holiday request to their favorite magical dude, Fish Santa. Meanwhile, Bea tries out for the role of Fish Mall Santa.
7:45 p.m. – “Phineas and Ferb,” “Phineas and Ferb’s Family Christmas Special”
The boys decide to put on a traditional family Christmas special featuring their family, friends and a few very special guests, including Kelly Clarkson (playing herself). The episode features three new holiday songs – Isabella’s “Let it Snow,” a Buford and Baljeet rendition of “Good King Wenscelas,” and the whole gang singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
8:00 p.m. – “Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas!”
In the Disney Channel Original Movie, the Duncan’s scramble to reunite in time for Christmas… and along the way they get more than one unexpected gift.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4:
7:30 p.m. – “So Random!”
Worldwide music sensation Justin Bieber performs “Mistletoe” from his holiday album. Also in the episode, MC Grammar raps about Christmas and introduces Dr. Dreidel; Coolest Kid enjoys holiday treats and advises kids to stay in school; Becky Beaver learns she has a wonderful life; Platowski Bros. sing about one another to the tune of holiday jingles; and Harry Potter shops at Voldemarts for the holidays.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9:
8:30 p.m. – “A.N.T. Farm,” “sANTa’s Little Helpers”
Everyone is in the Christmas spirit at Webster High School, including principal Skidmore, who asks Chyna, Olive and Fletcher to build toys for needy kids. But when they discover that Skidmore is actually selling the toys for profit, they devise a scheme to booby trap the gifts.
9:00 p.m. – “Jessie,” “Christmas Story”
When Christina and Morgan Ross get caught in a snowstorm, the family fears they won’t make it home in time for Christmas and Jessie is left with shopping for the kid’s Christmas presents and getting the house decorated for the holiday. When Jessie takes the kids to the mall to see Santa, they have a run-in with his mischievous elves.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11:
8:30 p.m. – “Shake It Up,” “Jingle It Up”
CeCe does some last minute Christmas shopping for her mom, but buys herself a purse instead. With no money left for her mom’s scarf, CeCe gets herself a couple of jobs at the mall to make some extra cash. Meanwhile, Rocky tries to make a young boys Christmas wish come true and Deuce reluctantly invites Dina to join his family for some Christmas caroling.
DISNEY JUNIOR PROGRAMMING BLOCK ON DISNEY CHANNEL:
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2:
8:30 a.m. – “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” “It’s a Winter Never Land!/Hook On Ice”
Jake, Izzy and Cubby awake to find that Peter Pan has left the crew presents and a tree to celebrate Winter Treasure Day/Captain Hook invites Jake and the crew on a winter treasure hunt.
8:55 a.m. – “Minnie’s Bow-Toons,” “Dance Lessons”
Minnie and Daisy help Clarabelle get ready for the Snowball Dance by teaching her the Snowflake Shuffle and altering her droopy dress into a dazzling new Winter Wonder.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16
7:00 a.m. – “Handy Manny,” “Snow Problem”
In the new half-hour special, Manny and the tools get separated from each other on the way to fix a broken ski lift, so Manny must set out to rescue the tools and save their winter ski vacation.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23
7:30 a.m. – “Imagination Movers,” “A Little Elf Esteem”
The Movers help Carol, a young elf-in-training, learn everything she needs to know to earn her elf bells in time to help Santa deliver presents on Christmas Eve.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30
7:00 a.m. – “Handy Manny,” “Snow Day”
Manny and the tools help Kelly get to her store during a big snow storm and build sleds to play in the snow.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 5
8:00 p.m. – “Pair of Kings,” “Pair of Santas”
In an effort to bring their holiday traditions to Kinkow, the kings promise the islanders a Super Christmas and enlist the island elves to make presents for the kingdom.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6
8:00 p.m. “Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil,” “Cousin Kyle Christmas/Snow Problem”
Kick battles an ice storm and bizarre obstacles in order to find a last minute Christmas gift for Cousin Kyle. When Kick’s family gets snowed in from an avalanche, Kick goes to the extreme to rescue them before cabin fever sets in.
It’s been a long time coming, but Jake from ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates,’ the top rated animated program in the Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel, will finally be landing at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts beginning this month.
We first met Jake back in March during a private event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios which is where he will begin meeting guests on Monday, November 13. He will be found at the meet and greet area outside the Disney Junior stage show. While Handy Manny will continue to also meet and greet fans at the location, Annie, June, Leo and and Quincy from ‘Little Einsteins’ will no longer be there.
However, Jake will also be joining the ‘Play ‘n Dine’ character meal at Hollywood and Vine, where June will remain, along with Special Agent Oso and Handy Manny.
Beginning a week later, on November 20, Jake will be on hand to meet and greet fans at Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort.
We also hear he’ll be setting sail aboard the Disney Fantasy when it launches in March, 2012.
In early 2011, the Disney Channel debuted Disney Junior—a brand that invites parents and caregivers to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical, and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating learning and development themes for young children.
Now, families can take these familiar characters and stories off-screen! Disney Junior, a new magazine for preschoolers, is full of magical stories and playful activities featuring favorite Disney Junior characters. Children aged 3 – 5 can join their favorite pals as they play games, solve puzzles, and learn about helping, celebrating, and sharing.
Disney Junior magazine includes:
- Games highlighting such shows as ‘Jungle Junction’ and ‘Handy Manny’
- Crafts from ‘Special Agent Oso’ and ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’
- A Fun Adventure Story about ‘Little Einsteins’
- Coloring activities and a pull-out poster from ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’
Disney Junior magazine is now available at major retail outlets today or by subscription (8 issues for $29.92).
Last night, attendees of the second annual Disney Social Media Moms Conference were treated to a fantastic experience in way of a dinner/dance party presented by Disney Junior on the set of ‘Lights, Motor, Action’ at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We’ll have more on the event and its many surprises soon, but for now we thought we’d share these photos of Jake from ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ who made his onstage debut at the event. After spending some time on the dance floor, jamming to a live performance of ‘Roll Up The Map’ by Sharky and Bones, Jake treated us to an exclusive photo shoot.
At this time, there are no known plans for Jake to be greeting park guests on a regular basis, but it’s always a possibility that he may become available for meet & greets as early as April/May when there is traditionally a significant change in Disney character appearances.
Jake does currently appear in puppet form, however, along with Izzy, Cubby and Skully in an all new segment of the popular ‘Disney Junior: Live on Stage!’ show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Disney Junior, the new multiplatform destination for kids age 2-7, will present “Imagination Movers in Concert,” a 45-minute primetime special featuring more than a dozen songs from the Emmy Award-winning “Imagination Movers” television series. Premiering during Mardi Gras week, Sunday,March 6 at 6 pm ET/PT on Disney Channel, the concert was filmed before a sold-out crowd at the Lakefront Arena in the Movers’ hometown of New Orleans. The special includes appearances by series guest stars Joey Fatone (*NSYNC) and Duff Goldman (Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes”), along with Nina and Warehouse Mouse.
On Monday, February 21, DisneyJunior.com will launch an “Imagination Movers in Concert” supersite featuring the new “Join the Band” interactive game, where parents can help their child upload a photo to create their own Mini Mover and play along as kids help the Movers learn their big dance moves in time for the concert. The site will also feature printable personalized Imagination Mover name tags and a dedicated section for parents and caregivers with Mover-inspired recipes, crafts and party planning tips and ideas.
The popular Imagination Movers are currently on a Disney Junior 50-city national concert tour with stops including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, DC. For details on the tour dates and venues visit www.imaginationmovers.com.
The Imagination Movers are Rich Collins, a former journalist and father of five young children; Scott Durbin, an award-winning teacher and father of two young children; Dave Poche, an architect and father of two young children; and Scott “Smitty” Smith, a New Orleans firefighter who was a member of the Katrina search and rescue effort. Since signing to Walt Disney Records, the Imagination Movers have sold more than 100,000 albums.
Hearts of New Yorkers felt a bit of warmth this morning as lovebirds Mickey and Minnie Mouse took to the heart of chilly Times Square. The couple were celebrating Valentine’s Day a few days early in anticipation of the launch of the Disney Junior programming block which begins February 14 on Disney Channel and Radio Disney, with a whole new 24-hours network launching in 2012.
The A-list couple were also joined by Disney starlet Madison Pettis who joined in on the early celebration. Pettis, who is no stranger to any Disney Channel viewer, provides the voice of Izzy on the Disney Junior original animated series, ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates.’
Photos by Lou Rocco, courtesy of and © Disney Channel
Radio Disney Junior, a music block designed for kids age 2-7, will debut Monday, February 14 from 12 pm – 1 pm ET (9 am – 10 am) on Radio Disney, coinciding with the launch of Disney Junior on Disney Channel and Disney.com. The national broadcast and satellite network is the No. 1 radio platform for kids and families. Its new Radio Disney Junior block will feature an expanded roster of music and artists appealing to young kids, plus fun “audio theater” with Disney Junior characters. DJ Hallie is the host of the Radio Disney Junior block, airing weekdays.
Music from The Laurie Berkner Band, Elizabeth Mitchell and Jack Johnson, and popular songs from Disney Junior series including “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny” and “Imagination Movers,” plus music from The Never Land Pirate Band of the upcoming adventure series, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” will be part of Radio Disney Junior.
Among the scheduled guests joining DJ Hallie for Radio Disney Junior Take Overs are the Imagination Movers, “Choo Choo Soul” stars Genevieve Goings and DC, and stars from the new “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” including Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, Sharky and Bones of The Never Land Pirate Band, Ariel Winter (of ABC’s “Modern Family”), who is the voice of Marina the Mermaid, and Madison Pettis (of Disney’s “The Game Plan”), who is the voice of Izzy.
Programming schedule for Radio Disney Junior’s debut month is as follows:
February 14-18 “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” stars Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Sharky and Bones
February 21-23 “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” star Madison Pettis (voice of Izzy)
February 24-25 “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” star Ariel Winter (voice of Marina the Mermaid)
February 28-March 4 “Choo Choo Soul” stars Genevieve Goings and DC;
Goings is also the featured artist on the new Disney Junior theme song “I Wanna Go.”
March 7-11 Imagination Movers
Joe D’Ambrosia has been named Vice President, Programming, Disney Junior, it was announced today by Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Disney Junior Worldwide, to whom D’Ambrosia reports. D’Ambrosia joins Disney after nearly two decades of writing, producing and developing children’s television programming and family films at companies including Murray Hill 5 Productions, which he co-founded, Nickelodeon and Sony Pictures Family Entertainment.
For the newly branded Disney Junior (currently branded Playhouse Disney), D’Ambrosia oversees production and programming strategies and creative development of entertainment and learning-based television properties including the upcoming animated adventure series “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” featuring new kid pirates alongside Disney’s classic “Peter Pan” characters Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, and current hits “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Special Agent Oso.” D’Ambrosia is also developing new full length and short-form series, including a series starring Minnie Mouse and “Sofia the First” (fka “Little Princess”), a series set in the storybook world of the classic Disney Princesses.
Kanter said: “Joe is one of the most well-liked and well respected people in the business, and we are thrilled to have him join our team. His past experience as a movie executive working with a wide range of writers and producers will open up new creative possibilities for Disney Junior.”
D’Ambrosia said: “I’m excited to introduce a whole new generation to the magic of Disney storytelling. It is an honor and a privilege to create exciting new stories for such classic characters as Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Captain Hook, and some new characters too.”
D’Ambrosia began his career at Nickelodeon where he launched their family film division, serving as the development and production executive on their first live action feature, “Harriet the Spy,” and their first animated feature, “Rugrats, The Movie.” He also oversaw development of the films “Rugrats in Paris” and “Snow Day.” D’Ambrosia left Nickelodeon to help launch Sony Pictures Family Entertainment, overseeing the development and production of numerous family films and television series, including the movie “Land of the Lost” and The KidsWB! television series, “Phantom Investigators.” Recently, with his Murray Hill 5 Productions partner Tom Teves, D’Ambrosia developed, wrote and produced “Astro Boy” for Sony Pictures Television, which aired in 20 countries. The duo also created “Golden Bridges,” based on the classic book series “Golden Books,” for The Learning Channel. Additional credits include the feature films “Mother of Invention” for Walt Disney Pictures, “Motel Galileo” and “Hello, I Love You” for Wind Dancer Films and “Escape from Island X” for Wildbrain Entertainment, and the television series “Undercover 101″ for Lifetime Television, “Come Spy with Me” for ABC Family and “Blood+” for Sony Television.
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.