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Disney: Telefilm Sequels Are for Kids

2/08/2007 11:22 AM Eastern

New York -- Telefilm sequels and integrated advertising sales were the order of the day at Disney’s kids’ upfront presentation.

Tricia Wilber, executive vice president of the recently announced Disney Media Advertising Sales and Marketing Group, not only talked up the new sales integrated structure at the Hudson Theater here Thursday afternoon, but the service’s continued Nielsen Media Research ratings strength.

Disney Channel was atop basic cable among kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14 in primetime for a fourth consecutive year, and it finished in second place among households and total viewers to USA Network in primetime during 2006.

As for programming, Disney Channel Games 2007 -- a reprise performance by some of the network’s stars competing in various games, obstacle courses and mental/physical channels -- was touted as a multiplatform play, with extensions on Radio Disney and DisneyChannel.com, plus two-half hour specials and weekly short-form fare on the network.

Wilber’s new team and Disney’s push toward an enhanced one-stop-shopping approach -- which was announced to the Madison Avenue community earlier this week -- is offering advertisers sponsorships of the short-form programming and the opening and closing ceremonies. It is also extending the opportunities to various Radio Disney fan events, Disney Adventures advertorials and online sites dedicated to the games at DisneyChannel.com.

Next fall, Disney Channel will premiere live-action comedy series Wizards, created and executive-produced by Todd Greenwald (Hannah Montana), in which three siblings engage in typical family squabbles, with one difference -- they’re all wizards in training but only will retain the powers at age 18.

Next winter, Disney Channel plans to launch Phineas and Ferb, a comedy from Walt Disney Television Animation, in which two stepbrothers want to make every day of their summer vacation significant, with such creations as a backyard roller coaster and the world’s largest popsicle.

As for Playhouse Disney, the computer-generated-animation My Friends Tigger & Pooh will join the preschool lineup in May. Fall, meanwhile, is expected to mark the arrival of puppet comedy Bunny Town, inhabited by a group of bouncing rabbits engaged in song, dance and hilarity.

The network’s original-movies franchise -- which has been driving some of the top ratings in basic cable in recent years -- was also trumpeted, with an emphasis on sequels.

Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board, which follows last summer’s telefilm, Johnny Tsunami, is set for June, while High School Musical 2 is in the cue for August. Twitches Too, starring Tia and Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister), comes behind the 2005 Halloween movie based on mystery/adventure book series, T*Witches.

Disney is taking things a step forward with a “trequel,” The Cheetah Girls 3. This time, Chanel, Aqua and Dorinda will travel to India to star in a Bollywood production.

Also in the pipeline: caper comedy Dadnapped and CG-animated Franklin B.C., a fish-out-of-water comedy in which the smartest kid in school is a caveman who must acclimate to his new surroundings.

For its part, Toon Disney will add Disney Channel series The Replacements to its roster and feature 21 and 26 new episodes of Kim Possible and Yin Yang Yo, respectively. Toon Disney's Big Movie Show, its nightly movie franchise, will include the cable-TV premiere of Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles, as well as Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc.

Come fall, ABC Kids will add Disney Channel’s new series, Cory in the House -- the record-ratings-breaking spinoff from That’s So Raven -- to the broadcaster’s Saturday-morning lineup.

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