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James Neal Named VP, Programming, Disney Channel UK

Walt Disney Branded Television has promoted James Neal to vp, programming, Disney Channel UK, responsible for leading the programming teams for Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney and Toon Disney. Neal will also oversee the program planning of general entertainment channel abc1.

Neal was programming and commissioning director, where he ensured Disney Channel continued its success as the number one kids channel within Disney Channel homes. Previously he held a variety of programming positions at Disney Channel and played a key part in the launch of the channel back in October 1995. He was also instrumental in the introduction of Playhouse Disney and Toon Disney to the U.K in September 2000. Neal started his career working as a presentations scheduler for Sky.

The programming teams are the creative life force of our Disney Channel and Im delighted to promote one of our most experienced creative leaders, John Hardie, evp/md, Walt Disney Branded Television EMEA, to whom Neal will report. James wealth of knowledge makes him the ideal candidate of this role, he has grown with us as a business and is a key member of the management team.

Walt Disney Branded Television since 1995 Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney and Toon Disney, have been successfully launched throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa and can currently be seen throughout 38 countries in the region. With local operations based in London, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Lisbon and Stockholm, each channel remains individual with a mix of local programming and the core Disney hit programming. There are also 40 Disney branded blocks, which can be seen in over 30 countries, airing more than 100 hours of Disney programming per week on free TV.

abc1 launched on Freeview on Sept. 27, 2004, and on ntl digital and Telewest Broadband in December 2004. It is the first non-Disney branded channel to launch outside of the U.S. abc1s schedule focuses on high quality U.S acquisitions including drama, comedy and serials, many of which have never been seen in the U.K. before. Once launch objectives have been achieved the channel intends to commission and invest in original U.K. production and to introduce a regular movie slot. abc1 broadcasts during daytime, from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, with plans to build into a 24/hr schedule.