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PR: Disney-ABC Television Group Announces 2007-08 Kids Programming Lineup

by on February 13, 2007


Following a year of record-breaking ratings and chart-topping music success combined with a celebrated kid-driven, family inclusive, parent-approved brand affinity, Disney-ABC Television Group unveiled its kids’ programming slate for the 2007-08 television season. Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment, Disney Channel Worldwide, and Tricia Wilber, executive vice president, Disney Media Advertising and Marketing Group, made the announcements at the annual presentation to 600 advertisers and media in New York. Programming spans Disney Channel and its Playhouse Disney programming block; Toon Disney and its Jetix programming block; and ABC Kids, the Saturday morning programming daypart on the ABC Television Network.

Themed “In Concert,” the advertiser presentation featured rousing performances by The Cheetah Girls and Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana. The theme extended to the Company’s newly reorganized Advertising Sales and Marketing Group, which also outlined its unparalleled brand strength and ability to bring advertisers customized marketing opportunities across popular media platforms serving kids and families: Disney TV, Disney Online, Radio Disney and Disney Adventures.

Marsh said: “Our kids TV platforms had a tremendously successful year in all performance metrics, from ratings to chart-topping music, and we remain committed to delivering our viewers great content that kids love and parents trust. While Disney Channel doesn’t sell traditional third party commercial spots, it doesn’t mean ratings don’t count – although I suspect our competition wishes they didn’t.”

Wilber said: “As we enter the marketplace with powerful distribution and unparalleled entertainment content, we are poised to provide our clients efficient, top-rate service and creative opportunities to align their brands across our kid-driven, family inclusive and parent-trusted media platforms.”

In 2006 Disney Channel reached new ratings highs and ranked as the #1 basic cable network among Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14 in primetime for the fourth consecutive year. It was also the second-most-watched channel against all basic cable networks in Households and Total Viewers in primetime and total programming day.

Disney Channel Games, which helped Disney Channel hold firm to the #1 network ranking among Kids and Tweens last summer, returns for Summer 2007 in an even bigger, global event featuring Disney Channel stars from all over the world competing in fun obstacle courses and other games of physical strength and mental agility. Highlighted by an interactive component that invites viewers to participate in and follow the action online, the “Disney Channel Games 2007” will include extensions on Radio Disney and DisneyChannel.com. The programming content will be presented in weekly short-form programming and two half-hour specials this summer. In connection with “Disney Channel Games 2007,” Disney Media Advertising and Marketing Group will offer advertisers various sponsorship opportunities, and will extend the opportunities to various Radio Disney fan events, Disney Adventures and online sites dedicated to the games at Disneychannel.com.

Premiering in Fall is “Disney’s Wizards,” a comedy series created and executive-produced by Todd Greenwald (“Hannah Montana”) and executive-produced by Peter Murietta (“Greetings from Tucson,” “Hope & Faith”). The stories follow Alexa Esposito and her two brothers, Aaron and Max, as they engage in typical family squabbles with one significant difference – they are all wizards in training and only one of them will keep his or her wizardly powers when they turn 18. It stars 14-year-old Selena Gomez — who was discovered in her hometown of Dallas, Texas during a nationwide casting search — David Henrie (“That’s So Raven”), Jake T. Austin (“Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board”) and Maria Canals (“The Proud Family”).

In Winter 2008, Disney Channel will premiere “Phineas and Ferb,” an extraordinary comedy series for kids and parents alike. Created and executive-produced by Emmy Award nominee Dan Povenmire (“Family Guy”) and by Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (“The Simpsons”), it chronicles two step-brothers who attempt to make every day of their summer vacation count by building innovative creations, including the world’s largest popsicle and a backyard roller coaster, much to the exasperation of their tween sister, Candace. Meanwhile, the family’s simple minded pet platypus, Perry, leads a double life as a secret agent and faces off with the evil Dr. Doofenschmirtz in each episode. The series is a production of Walt Disney Television Animation. The voice cast includes Vincent Martella (“Everybody Hates Chris”) as Phineas, Thomas Sangster (“Nanny McPhee”) as Ferb, Ashley Tisdale (“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “High School Musical”) as Candace, Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch”) as Mom, Richard O’Brian (creator of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as Dad, Mitchel Musso (“Hannah Montana”) as Jeremy and Dee Baker (“American Dad!”) as Perry.

The blockbuster Disney Channel Original Movie franchise includes several new movies for the 2007-08 season:

“Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board,” the upbeat sequel to the popular Disney Channel Original Movie “Johnny Tsunami,” will kick off summer in June. The action-packed extreme sports comedy adventure finds Johnny Kapahala, a teen snowboarding champion from Vermont, returning to Hawaii for his grandfather’s wedding and dealing with his new “uncle,” a 12-year-old boy who wants nothing to do with his new blended family. Reprising their roles are Brandon Baker (“Campus Confidential”), Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa (“Memoirs of a Geisha”), Mary Page Keller (“Nip/Tuck”) and Yuji Okumoto (“Big Momma’s House 2”). Joining the cast are recording artist Lil’ J (“That’s So Raven”), Jake T. Austin (“Wizards” and “Go Diego Go”), Robyn Lively (“Nip/Tuck,” “CSI: NY”) and Andrew Allen (“Grey’s Anatomy”).

“High School Musical 2,” the sequel to the international marvel, picks up with the Wildcats on the last day of the school year and, although it’s summertime, the show must go on. The East High basketball team are among those who get summer jobs at the country club founded by Sharpay’s grandfather, and before long, Troy, Gabriella, Ryan and Sharpay face off over the country club’s annual mid-summer’s night musical production.

“Twitches Too,” a sequel to the hugely successful 2005 Halloween movie based on the mystery/adventure book series, T*Witches, stars Tia and Tamera Mowry (“Sister, Sister”) as twins born in the magical kingdom of Coventry and separated at birth in order to escape an evil force that could destroy them. When they are reunited on their 21st birthday, they discover their magical powers and the responsibility that comes with them. The sequel joins the twins on their quest to discover their missing father, who is trapped in Coventry.

Disney Channel will also present “The Cheetah Girls 3,” the “trequel” to the hugely popular Disney Channel Original Movies based on an award-winning book series by Deborah Gregory. The movies spawned a successful franchise of albums, videos and consumer products. In the music-filled sequel, Chanel, Aqua and Dorinda travel to India to star in a Bollywood movie. It is slated to be filmed in India.

Another upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie, a caper-comedy entitled “Dadnapped,” finds 14-year-old Melissa with a bad case of sibling rivalry, only her competition is a fictional character in her father’s best-selling novel about a teenage super spy. When her father is “dadnapped” by a group of overzealous fans, it’s up to Melissa to help him by tapping her inner superhero – a persona not unlike the novel’s heroine.

The CG-animated Disney Channel Original Movie “Franklin B.C” is a fish out-of-water comedy that follows Franklin, the smartest kid at school, who happens to be a prehistoric caveman learning to acclimate in his new surroundings.

Joining Playhouse Disney, the programming block for preschoolers and their parents, in May 2007 is “My Friends Tigger & Pooh,” starring classic A.A. Milne characters Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, plus Lumpy and their new neighbor in the Hundred Acre Wood, an adorable six-year-old girl named Darby and her puppy, Buster. Beautifully-rendered in CG animation, a TV first for these beloved characters, the stories reflect the traditional qualities of the Winnie the Pooh characters — a sense of community, friendship, and simple, whimsical stories – and the energy that a fun-loving six-year-old brings to any scenario. With endearing comedy that parents will enjoy, every episode revolves around the solving of a mystery, with the help of adventurous Super Sleuths Tigger and Pooh, and features an interactive curriculum to encourage the youngest viewer to apply “reflective” thinking skills. Veteran voice actor Jim Cummings returns as the classic voice of Tigger and Pooh. 10-year-old actress Chloe Moretz is the voice of Darby. Brian Hohlfeld is the executive producer and story editor. Hohlfeld also wrote “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie,” “Piglet’s Big Movie” and “A Very Merry Pooh Year.” The series is a production of Walt Disney Television Animation.

Also coming to Playhouse Disney in Fall 2007 is the original series “Bunny Town,” an endearing puppet comedy featuring amusing stories set in a busy world of song, dance and laughter, a world populated by the Funny Bunnies. The Funny Bunnies think their neighbors in People Town are enormously entertaining, and they can’t get enough of observing the extremely silly things people do. The series, created and produced by David Rudman, (“Sesame Street” and “Jack’s Big Show”) and Chicago’s Spiffy Pictures, is a production of Baker Coogan in the U.K. under the leadership of Martin Baker, a long-time producer for Jim Henson’s “Muppets” feature films and primetime TV series.

Beginning in Fall 2007, ABC Kids, the #1 broadcast network on Saturday mornings among Tweens 9-14, will add the newest Disney Channel powerhouse series, “Cory in the House.” The spin-off of the mega-hit “That’s So Raven” premiered on Disney Channel last month, posting the highest rating for any kid-targeted series debut since 1999.

Toon Disney, which has grown to reach 60 million U.S. homes and has basic cable TV’s #1 co-viewing rate among Kids 6-11 and Adults 18-49, will add the Disney Channel comedy series “The Replacements,” the #1 animated series on television among Kids 6-11. Other action-packed additions to the lineup include the fourth season – 21 new episodes — of the hit adventure/comedy “Kim Possible,” and the second season – 26 new episodes — of “Yin Yang Yo.” Toon Disney’s “Big Movie Show,” a nightly movie presentation for the whole family, will include the cable TV premiere of Disney/Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” as well as family favorites “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.”

Program schedules and season premiere dates for ABC Kids, Toon Disney and Disney Channel will be announced at a later date.


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