Disney Looks to Keep Ratings Momentum Going

NEW YORK — Coming off its first-ever win as the most-watched network among kids 2 to 11 in 2012, Disney Channel will look to continue its ratings momentum with the launch of several new series and original movies, network president and chief creative officer Gary Marsh said during the company’s upfront here last Tuesday (March 12).

On the live-action front, the network this summer will launch Liv & Maddie, starring newcomer Dove Cameron in a dual role as identical twins who seek their own identities in high school. Cameron will also star in the Disney original movie Cloud 9, set in the world of competitive snowboarding.

A second original flick, Teen Beach Movie, will debut this summer and provide a modern take on classic beach party movies, network officials said. Marsh also announced Disney Channel will develop a spinoff of the popular 1990s series Boy Meets World titled Girl Meets World.

On the animated side, intergalactic comedy Wander Over Yonder will debut this summer, and the network announced plans to debut Star and The Forces of Evil in fall 2014.

Toddler-targeted Disney Junior will also add new series as it prepares to become Nielsen-rated as of April 1, Marsh said. The network announced animated series Henry Hugglemonster, about the 5-year-old middle child of a monster family, will premiere in April, and Western-themed series Sheriff Callie’s Wild West bows in September. Also on the docket is The 7D, which focuses on the Seven Dwarfs before Snow White’s arrival.

Boy-targeted Disney XD channel will continue to build on its “Marvel Universe” programming block, adding two new animated series. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble premieres July 7, while Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. debuts Aug. 11.

Travel Channel Adds Two Reality Series

Two new series will join the Travel Channel’s lineup this spring. Red, White & New scours the country for original and imaginative American inventions, while competition show Dig Wars follows three teams of relic hunters as they crisscross the nation to uncover its buried history.

Travel also announced the April return of two other reality series, Toy Hunter on April 10 and Airport 24/7: Miami on April 30.

The upfront season will really begin to sizzle over the next few weeks as a number of cable networks announced their presentation dates, including Crown/Hallmark (March 21), upstart network Participant Television (March 27), Bravo (April 2), Syfy (April 10), IFC (April 11), E! (April 22), MTV (April 25) and DirecTV (May 7).