Here it is soapers! Your first look at Disney Junior, the 24 hour cable network that will replace the only 24/7 soap opera television network, SOAPnet! March 23rd is the date that for many of the country you will go from seeing the drama of the boardroom and the bedroom, to watching animated figures with shows such as Doc McStuffins, Gaspard and Lisa, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates!”
ABC/Disney is gunning for pre-schoolers 2-5 and their moms, instead of airing same day and date episodes of your favorite soaps, The Young and the Restless, Days of our Lives, and General Hospital. While this is another black day for soap fans, it forces us to look for, or continue , the other options once again to see your soaps : afternoon viewing, your DVR/Tivo, or watching them online.
Here are some excerpts from ABC’s release heralding in their new cable outlet for kiddies!
“Disney Junior, a 24-hour basic cable/satellite channel expressly for kids age 2-7 and their parents/caregivers, will launch Friday March 23 (12:00 midnight, ET/PT) in the U.S., joining 28 other Disney Junior channels around the world. The announcement was made today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California, by Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide. Disney Junior was introduced as a daily programming block on Disney Channel in February 2010 and, year to year, its ratings are up 26% among Kids 2-5 and 36% among Boys 2-5.
The popular Disney Junior daily programming block will continue on Disney Channel while the new 24 hour channel will fulfill parents’ demands for quintessentially Disney programming throughout the day. The Disney Junior channel will be available via major cable and satellite providers Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and Verizon, among others.
Marsh said: “This marks the beginning of a sea change in the ‘preschool plus’ television landscape. The response to our Disney Junior programming block has been extremely positive from both our affiliate partners and our viewers’ parents. On March 23, when it launches as a stand-alone channel, our audience will have the opportunity to experience an engaging, learning-focused and uniquely Disney destination on a 24-hour basis.”
Disney Junior invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. A council of academic advisors comprising experts in the fields of child development, transmedia, storytelling, early education and creativity will guide Disney Junior’s learning and development curriculum.
Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, said: “Disney Junior series each have specific curriculum experts and now, to maximize overall learning value, we are deepening our conversation to include a channel advisory council that will share research and knowledge in the world of education and bring important perspectives on innovations in early childhood learning.”
The programming schedule includes: “Doc McStuffins” – an animated series about a six-year-old girl who communicates with and heals stuffed animals and toys in her backyard clinic. Under the consultancy of the Hollywood Health & Society division of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, the series will highlight the importance of taking care of oneself and others, while showcasing the hallmarks of great Disney storytelling – fantasy and wish fulfillment. Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Chris Nee (“Little Bill” and “Deadliest Catch: Crab Fishing in Alaska”) is the creator and executive producer, and Emmy Award-winning Norton Virgien (“Rugrats”) is the director. “Doc McStuffins” is a production of the Dublin, Ireland-based Brown Bag Films (two time Academy Award nominee for “Granny O’Grimm” and “Give Up Yer Aul Sins”).
“A Poem Is…” — Laura Linney, Viola Davis, John Leguizamo, Jessica Alba, Owen Wilson and Liev Schreiber are among the narrators of the second season of the acclaimed short-form series designed to introduce young children to the beauty of a poem.
“Magical World of Disney Junior” — a weekend movie night featuring telecasts of Disney’s vast array of classic and contemporary movies, including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Bambi,” “Dumbo,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Cars,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Aladdin,” among others.
“Gaspard and Lisa” — the adventures of two best friend puppies as they experience the wonders and challenges of school and family life in their Paris neighborhood. Based on the books by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben, “Gaspard and Lisa” is produced by Chorion.
“Guess How Much I Love You” — a tender animated series centered on the father-son relationship between Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare. Based on the UK picture book, Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, the series will air exclusively on Disney Junior the Channel. “Guess How Much I Love You” is a production of the Australia-based SLR Productions.
In addition to current hits “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Little Einsteins,” “Handy Manny” and “Special Agent Oso,” the channel will also present viewer favorites from the past, “Higglytown Heroes,” “Stanley,” “JoJo’s Circus” and “Rolie Polie Olie,” among others.
Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior’s animated and live action series blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. Disney Junior launched in February 2011 with a daily programming block on Disney Channel. In its first year, Disney Junior posted the network’s biggest yearly audience in the daypart in Total Viewers, Kids 2-5, Boys 2-5, Girls 2-5 and Women 18-49 and increased by double-digit margins among preschooler demographics over year-ago levels.”