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"Octonauts" Links with NOAA; Disney Premieres New Pre-School Toon on Disney Jr. App

The New York Times notes a deal between Silvergate Media, producers of the Disney Jr. show Octonauts, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to “raise awareness of ocean exploration and science and advance NOAA’s mission.” The deal is expected to include themed events at aquariums, joint development of educational materials, and collaboration on different products. The deal is more expansive than the one made by NASA with the public television series Space Racers, set to be distributed to public television affiliates next spring, which will add more scientific accuracy to the show’s adventures in outer space and also allow for filming of live-action interstitials at various NASA facilities.

In addition, the Times reported on the announcement that Disney’s new pre-school animated series Sheriff Callie’s Wild West will make its premiere on the Disney Junior smartphone and tablet apps before it premieres on the Disney Jr. television block, with the first nine episodes available for free through the Watch Disney Junior app and to verified users of the WatchDisneyJunior.com website, with episodes appearing from November 24, 2013 through to January 6, 2014. The series stars Mandy Moore as the title character.

The full press release about Sheriff Callie’s Wild West follows:


THE FIRST WESTERN FOR PRESCHOOLERS, “SHERIFF CALLIE’S WILD WEST,” STARRING THE VOICE OF MANDY MOORE, TO DEBUT WITH FIRST NINE EPISODES EXCLUSIVELY ON WATCHDISNEYJUNIOR.COM AND WATCH DISNEY JUNIOR APP, BEGINNING SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24

– Series Premieres on 24-hour Disney Junior channels and
Disney Channels around the World in 2014 –

– Sheriff Callie, a Calico Cat with Cowgirl Know-How,
Makes Sure there’s No Trouble in Town –

In a first for Disney/ABC Television Group, a series will premiere on its hugely popular WATCH service. The animated “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West,” the first Western for preschoolers (kids age 2-7), will be available for verified viewers on WATCHDisneyJunior.com and the WATCH Disney Junior app for smartphones and tablets beginning SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24. The series will premiere on Disney Junior channels and programming blocks around the world in 2014.

Established last year as part of Disney/ABC Television Group’s industry-defining TV everywhere rollout, WATCH Disney Junior provides access to on-demand episodes of popular Disney Junior shows, as well as a live stream of the linear channel feed for verified viewers. Nine episodes of “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” will roll out on WATCH Disney Junior between November 24 and January 6.

“Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” stars the voice of Mandy Moore (Disney’s “Tangled”) as Callie, a Calico cat sheriff who keeps the peace in her frontier town of Nice and Friendly Corners using her magic lasso and cowgirl know-how. Incorporating the folklore of the Old West, each episode features two 11-minute stories that focus on positive character building and being a good friend and neighbor. Sheriff Callie’s trusty sidekicks are a bird named Deputy Peck and sweet-natured cactus, Toby.

In making the announcement, Nancy Kanter, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide said, “We’re taking an exciting new step with the launch of our latest Disney Junior series, ‘Sheriff Callie’s Wild West,’ on our extremely popular WATCH Disney Junior platform. In this, the first Western made just for preschoolers, our audience will not only have a chance to get to know our characters and our stories more quickly by having multiple episodes to watch all at once on WATCH Disney Junior, but we are confident they will be delighted with how those stories embrace what has enthralled us for generations in western tales — strong and important role models, high stakes stories and distinctive music.”

“Interacting with smartphones and tablets is second nature to kids today,” said Albert Cheng, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer of Digital Media, Disney/ABC Television Group. “Our research shows tablets are among the fastest growing devices ever – more than half of households with kids now own a tablet, up over 40% in 2012. With the premiere of ‘Sheriff Callie’s Wild West’ on the WATCH Disney Junior service, we are fulfilling our commitment to deliver high quality content experiences that either extend the life cycle of our shows or build new relationships with our audience across digital platforms that are increasingly important to them.”

On Monday, November 18, DisneyJunior.com/SheriffCallie will launch as an introduction to the series and characters and will expand in early January with the game “Sheriff Callie’s Wild Day.” The site will also include themed coloring pages and downloadable crafts.

In addition to Moore, the series stars Lucas Grabeel (Disney’s “High School Musical,” ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth”) as Peck; Jessica DiCicco (Disney’s “Gravity Falls”) as Toby; Mo Collins (“Parks and Recreation”) as Ella Cowbelle, Frida Fox and newspaper editor Abigail Crane; Cree Summer (“WordGirl”) as Priscilla Skunk; Kevin Michael Richardson (Disney’s “Wander Over Yonder”) as Farmer Stinky and Uncle Bun; Jeff Bennett (Disney’s “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) as Mr. Dillo, Doc Quakers and Cody the Pony Express Rider; Gary Anthony Williams (Disney’s “Doc McStuffins”) as Dirty Dan and Dusty; and Carlos Alazraqui (Disney’s “Planes”) as Tio Tortuga.

“Sheriff Callie’s Wild West” was created by Denis Morella and George Evelyn and developed for television by Holly Huckins, the team behind Disney’s “Higglytown Heroes.” Morella, Evelyn and Huckins also serve as executive producers. The composers are Michael Turner and Mike Himelstein (Disney’s “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”). The series is a production of W!LDBRAIN Entertainment, a DHX Media company, in association with Disney Junior. It carries a TV-Y parental guideline.

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