In February 2011, Disney Channel will debut Disney Junior, a new multiplatform brand devoted to children ages 2-7 and their families, it was announced today by Carolina Lightcap, president, Disney Channels Worldwide. Disney Junior will invite parents and grandparents to join their children in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, both classic and new, while incorporating specific learning and developmental themes. Disney Junior will launch content across the daily television block on Disney Channel, an integrated website, VOD, mobile and paid download platforms.
Among the new series are “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” an animated adventure combining new and classic Disney characters Captain Hook and Smee (“Peter Pan”); a series of Disney Poetry Shorts which showcases poems for children set against classic Disney animation; two short form series, “Mickey Mousekersize” and “Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps,” to encourage healthy lifestyles for preschoolers and families; “Babar and the Adventures of Badou,” an updated version of the classic “Babar,” that introduces King Babar’s energetic eight-year-old grandson, Badou, and friends as they explore the world of Celesteville; and “Tinga Tinga Tales,” a vibrant animated adventure inspired by traditional African animal folktales and the art of Tanzania. Playhouse Disney hits “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny,” “Special Agent Oso” and “Imagination Movers,” among others, will be part of Disney Junior.
Lightcap said: “Disney Junior differentiates itself by placing a focus on story and character, the hallmarks of Disney since its inception. We’ll take memories of the Disney experience, held by generations of parents and kids, and bring them to life on TV and beyond, with elements that encourage early childhood learning, wrapped in strong emotionally connected storytelling.” She continued, “We will showcase classic Disney characters in new ways, and we are equally committed to creating new original characters that we hope will become the classics of the future.”
Disney Junior will be available on basic cable in more than 99 million U.S. homes and to millions of other viewers on 25 Disney Junior channels (currently Playhouse Disney channels) and free-to-air broadcast partners around the world. It will also be seen via video-on-demand and a broadband website, DisneyJunior.com. In 2012 Disney Junior will also debut as a basic cable and satellite channel in the U.S.
Premiering in conjunction with Disney Junior is the new animated series, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” an interactive treasure hunt that follows the adventures of classic characters Captain Hook and Smee, along with a new crew of kid pirates led by the enthusiastic and courageous Jake. The series, which emphasizes teamwork, stars David Arquette as the voice of the lookout parrot, Skully, and 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.
As part of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living initiative, which encourages healthier lifestyles for kids and families, Disney Junior will premiere two new short-form series, “Mickey Mousekersize” and “Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps.” Hosted by Mickey Mouse, “Mickey Mousekersize” focuses on the fun of exercising and encourages children at home to get up and move along with Mickey and pals. “Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps” 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.
Also debuting with the launch of Disney Junior is a series of Disney Poetry Shorts, designed to bring fond memories of Disney classics to parents and create new ones for kids. The series of short-form animation showcases poems for children set to scenes and imagery from classic Disney films. It will introduce preschoolers to the beauty of a poem well read and combine it with extraordinary moments in Disney animation history.
Current Playhouse Disney hits including new episodes of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny,” “Special Agent Oso,” “Imagination Movers,” “Chuggington” and “Jungle Junction,” as well as Disney’s vast array of classic and contemporary movies, including among others “Beauty and the Beast,” “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo,” will be showcased on Disney Junior.
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage! Set for Spring Debut at Walt Disney World Resort (chipandco.com)
- Jake And The Never Land Pirates Leading the Way for Disney Junior Launch on February 14 (chipandco.com)