Disney Channels Worldwide presents plan to build on its strength at annual meeting with advertisers; Disney XD booms, expands its popular Marvel Universe Block; Disney Channel grows with original movies, live action and animated series, and exciting new cartoon shorts starring Mickey Mouse.
NEW YORK --
Buoyant after another year of record-setting ratings, Disney Channels Worldwide affirmed its plan to further build its creative and ratings strength, its audience engagement and its valuable multiplatform sales opportunities, today at Disney Media's 2013-14 Kids Upfront presentation. Held at New York's Hudson Theatre, many sponsors and advertisers attended the event with their children.
The evening included musical performances by the global sensation Bridgit Mendler (star of Disney Channel's "Good Luck Charlie" and a Gold-certified Hollywood Records recording artist) and popular actor and Hollywood Records recording artist Ross Lynch ("Austin & Ally," "Teen Beach Movie" and the band R5) who performed his Radio Disney hit song, "Can You Feel It." The show opened with a performance by Radio Disney's N.B.T. (Next BIG Thing) season five winners Chloe & Halle. Crash, the mischievous puppet star of Disney XD's sitcom "Crash & Bernstein," crashed the presentation. Special on-stage appearances were made by teen superstar Laura Marano ("Austin & Ally") and newcomer Dove Cameron (of two upcoming Disney Channel projects, the movie "Cloud 9" and comedy series "Liv & Maddie.")
Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, "We remain focused on delivering distinctively Disney quality programming to kids and families around world and are invigorated by the remarkable viewer response we've seen across all key demographics over the past year."
Marsh announced that the 24-hour Disney Junior channel, which accepts select sponsorships, will begin reporting Nielsen ratings as of April 1, 2013. The channel marks its first anniversary this month.
The daily Disney Junior block on Disney Channel has emerged as the leader with four hit series for kids age 2-7 and their parents: "Doc McStuffins" (cable TV's #1 series of 2012 among Kids 2-5, Girls 2-5 and Boys 2-5), "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (each Top 3 contenders in Kids 2-5 and Boys 2-5) and the new series "Sofia the First" (the #1 cable TV series for both of its two months among Kids, Girls 2-5 and the #1 preschooler cable TV series in Total Viewers and Women 18-49. November 2012's premiere of "Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess" was the #1 telecast in cable TV history in Kids 2-5 and Girls 2-5, and #1 preschooler cable TV telecast ever in Total Viewers and Women 18-49).
Marsh also told advertisers that Disney XD will expand its Marvel Universe programming block with two new animated series, one starring the hugely popular super hero The Hulk and another starring The Avengers. For 2012, Disney XD soared to its biggest year in the channel's history (including its 10 years as Toon Disney) with original series including "Lab Rats," "Kickin' It" and "Crash & Bernstein," and the animated Marvel Universe series "Ultimate Spider-Man." Disney XD posted yearly ratings records (in both Primetime and Total Day) in Total Viewers and its targeted kid and boy demographics, 2-11, 6-14, 6-11 and 9-14, rising by solid margins over year-ago results. Marvel's "Ultimate Spider-Man" season two debuted in January 2013 and to date, is Disney XD's #1 animated series in Kids and Boys 2-11 and Boys 6-11.
At the event, Marsh presented the first in an exciting series of cartoon shorts starring the endearing, adventurous and funny antics of Mickey Mouse, one of the most popular characters in the world. Produced by Disney Television Animation, the "Mickey Mouse" shorts preview beginning today, TUESDAY, MARCH 12 exclusively on Disney.com and will begin rolling out FRIDAY, JUNE 28 on Disney Channel, Disney.com and WATCH Disney Channel, among other platforms.
Rita Ferro, executive vice president, Disney Media Sales and Marketing, leads Disney's powerful kids media sales enterprise through which marketers reach every part of the youth demographic and increasingly, a co-viewing Women 18-49 demographic. Ferro commented on the transformative ways in which audiences are engaging and extending the viewing experience. Disney Channels' free WATCH apps -- WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney Junior and WATCH Disney XD -- have logged more than 12 million downloads and over half a billion video views.
Ferro said, "Our programming is woven fully into the lives of kids, moms, dads and caregivers – who connect with our characters and stories across Disney Media, linear TV and otherwise. They watch it, listen to it, play with it and own it." She continued, "Disney's WATCH apps are game changers and provide our clients with another powerful way to reach our audience and connect their brands to Disney's quality programming."
Disney Channel made history with its 2012 #1 rank in Total Day among Kids 2-11, the primary demographic for advertisers (breaking the competition's 17-year record at #1). Disney Channel, which accepts select sponsorships, was also the #1 TV network in Total Day among Kids 6-11 for the second consecutive year, and was #1 for the fourth year among Tweens 9-14. In Primetime, Disney Channel was #1 for the twelfth consecutive year in Tweens 9-14 and for the tenth straight year in Kids 6-11, and was among the Top 2 cable networks in Total Viewers for the seventh consecutive year. The blockbuster Disney Channel Original Movie franchise produced TV's #1 movie among Tweens 9-14 for the past 11 years.
The exciting 2013-14 slate also includes new episodes of the hit sitcoms "Good Luck Charlie," "A.N.T. Farm," "Jessie," "Austin & Ally," "Shake It Up" and "Dog With A Blog," and the animated series "Gravity Falls" and "Phineas and Ferb" for Disney Channel; and new seasons of the Disney XD series "Kickin' It," "Lab Rats," "Crash & Bernstein" and "Ultimate Spider-Man." The upcoming new projects are:
"Liv & Maddie" (working title) - 17-year-old newcomer Dove Cameron plays the dual role of identical twins in this upcoming sitcom. Ms. Cameron will also star in "Cloud 9," a Disney Channel Original Movie premiering in 2014 (see below). The series was created by John Beck and Ron Hart (both of "According to Jim"). John Peaslee, Andy Fickman ("The Game Plan," "Race to Witch Mountain") and Betsy Sullenger are also executive producers. Cameron plays identical twins -- an outstanding student and school basketball phenomenon whose popularity is on the rise until her twin sister, a television star, makes a triumphant return to their Wisconsin high school. Also starring are: Benjamin King, Kali Rocha, Joey Bragg and Tenzing Norgay Trainor.
"Star and the Forces of Evil" (working title) - this animated comedy adventure introduces Star Butterfly, a fun-loving magical teen princess from another dimension who -- after a few bold skirmishes with other-worldly monsters -- is sent by her Royal Parents to live with the Diaz family on Earth. Eden Sher (ABC's "The Middle") provides the voice of the lead character. Production has begun for a scheduled Fall 2014 premiere. Artist and writer Daron Nefcy is the series creator and co-executive producer. Dave Wasson is co-executive producer and director and Jordana Arkin is story editor. The series is from Disney Television Animation.
"Teen Beach Movie"-- the Disney Channel Original Movie franchise -- which introduced a generation of kids and tweens to movie musicals -- will premiere the highly anticipated "Teen Beach Movie," a modern take on classic beach party movies, FRIDAY, JULY 19 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT). Starring are Ross Lynch ("Austin & Ally" and Hollywood Records' R5) and Maia Mitchell (ABC Family's upcoming "The Fosters") as Brady and McKenzie, surfers who ride the last wave of summer, one that mysteriously takes them into a classic beach party movie, Wet Side Story. There, it's surfers versus bikers for control of the beach hangout…and everyone spontaneously breaks into song and dance. Brady and McKenzie must try to return to present day, but their lives may be changed forever when they inadvertently alter the movie's romantic storyline -- and the movie's handsome surf guy Tanner is now falling for McKenzie while biker girl Lela swoons for Brady. Also starring are: Grace Phipps ("The Nine Lives of Chloe King"), Garrett Clayton, John DeLuca, Chrissie Fit ("General Hospital"), Kevin Chamberlin ("Jessie") and Steve Valentine ("Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie"). The movie was directed by Jeffrey Hornaday (Disney Channel's "Geek Charming," choreographer of "A Chorus Line," "Flashdance") who also choreographed with Chris Scott ("Lemonade Mouth," "Step Up 4"). David Buelow ("Bring It On: Fight to the Finish") is the executive producer and Robert F. Phillips ("Teen Spirit," "Valkyrie") is the producer.
"Cloud 9" -
multi-talented Ashley Tisdale and snowboarding superstar Shaun White are the executive producers of this Disney Channel Original Movie, an exhilarating story set in the world of competitive snowboarding. Starring Luke Benward ("Girl Vs. Monster") and newcomer Dove Cameron (who also stars in an upcoming Disney Channel series "Liv & Maddie" - working title), the movie is scheduled to premiere next winter on Disney Channel. "Cloud 9" is directed by three-time DGA Award winner Paul Hoen ("Let It Shine," "Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam,"). In addition to White and Tisdale, the movie is executive-produced by Jessica Rhoades ("Under Construction," "Beauty & the Briefcase") and Kirkland Tibbels.
"Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel" --
the highly-anticipated animated adventure that assembles characters from two hugely popular Disney and Marvel franchises, "Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel," premieres this summeron Disney Channel and Disney XD. Marking the first crossover animated special for Marvel and Disney properties, the epic television event will follow Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk as they enter Danville after Dr. Doofenshmirtz's latest "inator" scheme accidentally removes their powers and immobilizes them. Now it's up to Phineas and Ferb to team up with the Marvel Super Heroes to help them regain their powers and defeat Marvel Super Villains – Red Skull, Whiplash, Venom and M.O.D.O.K. – who are working together with Dr. Doofenshmirtz to use his power-draining technology to create mayhem. "Phineas and Ferb" creators and executive producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh designed Marvel's Super Heroes and Super Villains including Red Skull, Whiplash, Venom and M.O.D.O.K. to fit the Danville world of the Emmy Award-winning series. It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
"Wander Over Yonder" -
premiering in summer 2013, this animated comedy, created, directed and executive-produced by Emmy-winning producer Craig McCracken ("The Powerpuff Girls", "Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends"), is about best friends and epic enemies, set in surreal places across the universe. Wander is an overly-optimistic intergalactic traveler who, along with his loyal but bullish steed Sylvia, goes from planet to planet helping people to live free and have fun, all against the evil reign of Lord Hater and his army of Watchdogs. The voice cast includes Jack McBrayer ("30 Rock," "Phineas and Ferb"), Keith Ferguson ("Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends") and Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants"). "Wander Over Yonder" is a production of Disney Television Animation.
"Marvel's Avengers Assemble" -- this animated series follows the great adventures of Marvel's favorite super heroes, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Falcon. A special one-hour preview will be presented SUNDAY, MAY 26, followed by the series premiere on SUNDAY, JULY 7. Starring are Adrian Pasdar as Iron Man, Fred Tatasciore reprising his role as Hulk, Roger Craig Smith as Captain America, Travis Willingham as Thor, Troy Baker as Hawkeye, Laura Bailey as Black Widow and Bumper Robinson as Falcon. Man of Action Studios ("Ben 10," "Generator Rex") -- comprised of Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle -- are executive producers.
"Hulk and the Agents S.M.A.S.H." -- in this never before seen team up of Hulk, his cousin She-Hulk, A-Bomb, Red Hulk and Skaar, Marvel's mightiest super heroes form an eccentric family living under one roof, working together to tackle threats that are too enormous for other heroes to handle. From trying to house break their giant red pet T-Rex to stopping Ego the Living Planet from crashing into the Earth, the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. must learn to balance Hulk-sized action with everyday family-sized problems. The series premieres SUNDAY, AUGUST 11 (11:00 a.m., ET/PT). Starring are: Fred Tatasciore as Hulk, Clancy Brown as Red Hulk, Eliza Dushku as She-Hulk, Ben Diskin as Skaar and Seth Green as A-Bomb. The creative talents of Paul Dini ("Batman: The Animated Series," "Lost") and Henry Gilroy ("Star Wars: The Clone Wars") have been tapped for this series.
"Henry Hugglemonster" --this animated series, premiering in April on the 24-hour Disney Junior channel, follows the adventures of fun-loving five-year-old Henry Hugglemonster, the middle child in a madcap monster family. Based on the book series I'm a Happy Hugglewug by Niamh Sharkey, the series is produced by Brown Bag Films ("Doc McStuffins"). The guest voice cast includes Geri Halliwell, Brenda Blethyn and Brain Blessed. Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O'Connell are the executive producers, along with Niamh Sharkey. The series is a production of the Brown Bag Films ("Doc McStuffins").
"Sheriff Callie's Wild West" -- this animated series, debuting in September 2013 on the 24-hour Disney Junior channel and programming block, is the first western for preschoolers, with Mandy Moore (Disney's "Tangled") as the voice of a kitty cat sheriff whose job is to ensure that the town of Nice and Friendly Corners remains the friendliest town in the West. The series was created by Denis Morella and George Evelyn and developed for television by Holly Huckins. Morella, Evelyn and Huckins serve as executive producers. It is a production of DHX Media in association with Disney Junior.
"The 7D" - this animated series presents an innovative, comedic look at the Seven Dwarfs before Snow White's arrival, this time in a contemporary storybook world designed for viewers age 2-7 and their families. Slated to debut in 2014 on Disney Junior channels and programming blocks around the world, it takes place in the whimsical world of Jollywood, where Queen Delightful relies on the 7D – Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc – to keep the kingdom in order. Standing in their way are two laughably evil villains, Grim and Hildy Gloom, who plot to take over the kingdom by stealing the magical jewels in the 7D's mine. With seven very distinct personalities, the 7D always manage to save the day and send Grim and Hildy running back to their evil lair to try another day. The executive producer is Tom Ruegger. Alfred Gimeno is the director and Sherri Stoner is the story editor. The characters are designed by Noah Z. Jones. The series is from Disney Television Animation.
Reaching more than 22 million listeners every week, over 7 million of them Women 18+, Radio Disney is the #1, 24-hour radio network devoted to kids, tweens and families. It's available on 31 owned terrestrial radio stations and via RadioDisney.com, Sirius XM satellite radio, iTunes Radio Tuner, mobile phones, the Radio Disney iPhone and Android Apps, and the Radio Disney Facebook page. Each year, Radio Disney stations activate over 5000 local events in markets throughout the country.
Radio Disney Music Awards -- the most popular recording artists among kids and tweens will be celebrated during this event, SATURDAY, APRIL 27, at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE. Selena Gomez, Cher Lloyd, Bridgit Mendler, Cody Simpson, Austin Mahone and Coco Jones are scheduled to perform at the event. Recognizing viewing habits of its young demographic, kids and tweens who utilize digital platforms and new technology to discover and listen to music, Radio Disney will present the Radio Disney Music Awards in segments, across multiple platforms -- on Vevo and on Disney Channel, Radio Disney, RadioDisney.com and Disney.com.
Radio Disney's NBT (Next BIG Thing) --entering it sixthseason, "N.B.T." is the multi-platform program that puts the spotlight on young recording artists to provide them with national broadcast and online exposure, and gives them the opportunity to perform in multiple cities through a concert tour. Radio Disney and Disney Channel audiences look, listen and vote for their favorite artist at RadioDisney.com, Radio Disney's Facebook page and Twitter, and via text.
Source: Disney Channels Worldwide
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.