EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed actress, recording artist and author Zendaya, whose single “Replay” recently went platinum. She was star of the Disney Channel series Shake It Up and next toplines the Disney Channel original telepic Zapped. She just wrapped …
Disney Channel Greenlights Original Movie Featuring Offspring Of Classic Disney Characters, Kenny Ortega To Direct
EXCLUSIVE: Meet the offspring of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar. Disney Channel has ordered to production Descendants, its first live-action original movie tapping into Disney’s vault of classic fairytale characters. Directed by High School Musical helmer and choreographer Kenny Ortega in his return to Disney Channel, the contemporary adventure-comedy revolves around the progeny of some of Disney’s most evil villains, introducing a modern generation of teenagers who question the evil that’s always been in their hearts. Casting is underway, overseen by High School Musical casting directors Natalie Hart and Jason La Padura, with production slated to begin in the spring for a 2015 premiere on Disney Channel. “We mined Disney’s treasure trove of stories and developed a new, comedic approach to the fabled characters everyone knows and loves,” said Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Channels Worldwide. “The result is a modern and unexpected re-interpretation of classic heritage characters utilizing contemporary, relatable settings and themes.”
Written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott (The Starter Wife, Runaway Bride), Descendants is set in a present-day idyllic kingdom, where the benevolent teenaged son of the King and Queen (Beast and Belle from Disney’s Beauty And The Beast) is poised to take the throne. His first proclamation: offer a chance at redemption to the trouble-making offspring of Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, the Evil Queen and Jafar who have been imprisoned on a forbidden island with all the other villains, sidekicks, evil step-mothers and step-sisters. These villainous descendants (Carlos, Mal, Evvie and Jay, respectively) are allowed into the kingdom to attend prep school alongside the offspring of iconic Disney heroes including Fairy Godmother, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Mulan. However, the evil teens face a dilemma: Should they follow in their nefarious parents’ footsteps and help all the villains regain power or embrace their innate goodness and save the kingdom?
EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel’s original series Shake It Up is wrapping its run after 78 episodes, with the final round of shows set to roll out this summer and in the fall. But one of the series’ stars, Zendaya, is sticking around, inking a deal to star a Disney Channel original movie. The move to end Shake It Up while it’s still going strong (it is the No. 1 TV series year-to-date in kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14 demos) is not atypical of the network, which tends to cap its original series after a set time. In June, Disney Channel said it was ending Good Luck Charlie after four seasons, 100 episodes and a hit TV movie. The Shake It Up shake-up comes as the network is prepping the debuts of new series including I Didn’t Do It and Girl Meets World; Shake It Up executive producer Rob Lotterstein is moving over to co-exec produce the former. Another new series, Liv & Maddie, logged 5.8 million viewers in a preview airing last week following the strong premiere of Teen Beach Movie.
EXCLUSIVE: Bella Thorne’s latest role certainly is a departure from her frothy Disney Channel sitcom. The Shake It Up star has scored a lead role in Home Invasion, rookie feature director Sean Carter’s thriller about a family imprisoned by intruders who play a life-and-death game in which the mysterious rules become clear as the night unfolds. Thorne will play Jamie, a disillusioned teenager intensely guarding a personal secret. Voltage Pictures is financing the project, written by first-time scribe and co-producer Joseph Dembner, and producing with Silver Pictures’ low-budget label Zinc Entertainment. Silver Pictures’ Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman will produce with Voltage’s Nicolas Chartier and Craig Flores. Joel Silver, Steve Richards and Michael Fiore will exec produce. Voltage’s Dominic Rustan handled the deal for the company.
Last month Disney said its Marvel characters will cross over to Disney Channel’s most popular animated series for an episode set to air next month in which the titular stepbrothers team with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor …
EXCLUSIVE: After four seasons, 100 episodes and a hit TV movie, Disney Channel has decided to end its sitcom Good Luck Charlie. Production on the series will wrap soon, with new episodes slated to roll out through early 2014. The series, executive produced by creators Phil Baker & Drew Vaupen and Dan Staley, also will remain on Disney Channel’s daily schedules around the world. “On behalf of everyone at Disney Channel, it’s been our great pleasure to work with the extraordinary producers Phil Baker, Drew Vaupen and Dan Staley and the writers and crew of Good Luck Charlie,” a rep for the kids channel said. “We could not have dreamt of a better cast than Bridgit Mendler, Jason Dolley, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Bradley Steven Perry, Mia Talerico and Eric Allan Kramer (and even little Logan Moreau as Baby Toby!) and the many guest stars who make the series so special.” The series, which centers on the everyday adventures of the busy Duncan clan — working full-time parents Bob and Amy; their three teen kids PJ, Teddy and Gabe; and fast-growing toddler Charlie — helped launch the recording career of Mendler and collected more than 25 million online votes in its “name the baby poll.”
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Healy, Disney Channel‘s SVP Original Movies, is leaving the company after nearly 16 years and more than 90 Disney Channel movies to pursue other opportunities. Healy, whose last day is April 26, led the Disney Channel Original Movie franchise to a streak of 11 consecutive year-end finishes as cable TV’s #1 original movie telecast among tweens 9-14, boasting the #1 scripted cable TV telecast in total viewers for six of the past seven years. He shepherded megahits High School Musical and its sequel High School Musical 2 whose premiere became the most watched basic-cable telecast with 18.6 million viewers. The HSM franchise also crossed over into features and into virtually every facet of the Disney company to become a billion-dollar worldwide franchise. Other hit Disney Channel original movies developed by Healy include Princess Protection Program, The Cheetah Girls (1-3), Camp Rock, Jump In! and Wizards Of Waverly Place The Movie. “Michael’s contributions to Disney Channel have been enormous and we will definitely miss his wit, his wisdom and his remarkable story-telling ability,” said Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, who worked with Healy for his entire tenure at the channel. “We wish him continued success with his next ventures.” In light of Healy’s departure, Disney Channel’s Original Movie department will be restructured. Healy has Disney Channel’s original movie pipeline well stocked up: His ambitious break-into-song musical Teen Beach Movie, from writer Robert Horn, director Jeffrey Hornaday and choreographer Chris Scott, will premiere in July. It will be followed up by snowboarding adventure Cloud 9, executive produced by HSM‘s Ashley Tisdale and snowboarding superstar Shaun White.