EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel has greenlighted comedy pilot Bunked, written by Joey Manderino (Austin & Ally) and executed produced by Dan Staley (Good Luck Charlie), for series consideration. According to the logline, Bunked follows a tech-savvy teenage girl as she tries to adapt to life as a counselor at a sleep-away camp in Wisconsin. She barely has the skills to unzip a sleeping bag, let alone lead young campers through any outdoor adventures, but with a little help from new friends, and some insect repellent, she might be able to pull it off. Bunked begins production in September.
Disney Channel has ordered a second season of its comedy series starring Olivia Holt (Kickin’ It), Austin North, Piper Curda, Peyton Clark, and Sarah Gilman. I Didn’t Do It revolves around the close-knit group of teens in the midst of a wild occurrence – something so absurd that it has them trying to explain away the craziness. Through flashbacks they recount the various and sometimes random moments leading up to their predicament. Since premiering in January, I Didn’t Do It has tied as Disney Channel’s No. 1 series among tweens 9-14. Series was created by Tod Himmel (90210) and Josh Silverstein (So Random!) and is produced by It’s a Laugh Productions.
Families were definitely tuning into the Disney Channel Friday night as 5.7 million viewers came under the spell of the network’s 8 P.M. original movie Zapped, becoming 2014-to-date’s No. 1 cable TV telecast among kids 2-11 (2.9 million/7.3 rating), kids 6-11 (2.3 million/9.6 rating) and tweens 9-14 (2.1 million/8.7 rating). The movie also delivered nearly 1.3 million Adults 18-49. But the watching didn’t stop there: At 9:45 PM, the premiere of comedy series Girl Meets World drew 5.2 million viewers, ranking as the No. 1 series launch of 2014 among the youth demos in kids 2-11 (2.3 million/5.7 rating), kids 6-11 (1.8 million/7.7 rating) and tweens 9-14 (1.7 million/6.9 rating). Zapped, directed by Peter DeLuise, follows 16 year-old Zoey Stevens (Shake It Up‘s Zendaya), a skilled dancer and straight-A student who is dealing with a new high school, a klutzy dance squad and a new step family. Her life changes when a dog training app on her phone takes control of the boys around her. A twist on the ABC sitcom Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World tells stories from a tween girl’s P.O.V. Series is exec produced by Michael Jacobs and stars Rowan Blanchard as Riley Matthews, the tween daughter of Cory and Topanga Matthews (Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprising their roles from the original series).
EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel is staying in the family for the leads of its newest pilot, Growing Up And Down, which has been given green light. Raini Rodriguez (Austin & Ally) and Adam Irigoyen (Shake It Up) will topline the family comedy as adult parents who suddenly and inexplicably are transformed into teenagers again. Cecilia Balagot and Noah Centineo co-star as their teenage kids, who now must navigate high school with their parents — a couple with the daunting task of re-living their adolescence under the critical eyes of their children. Barry Wernick and Steve Leff wrote the pilot, production on which will begin in August.
Disney Channel is getting a new look. It’s set to unveil a new channel logo and on-air look tomorrow in the U.S. and on the other 42 Disney Channels worldwide. The new less-boxy look combines two classic Disney icons – the distinct signature stroke of company founder Walt Disney and the three-circle shape evocative of Mickey Mouse. Said Richard Loomis, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Disney Channels Worldwide: “The new branding was an international collaboration between Disney Channel global and European teams and is crafted so our teams everywhere can customize it to create local stories, in familiar settings, featuring culturally identifiable storytelling.”
Disney Channel has ordered a fourth season of Jessie for a January 2015 premiere. The live-action comedy series stars Debby Ryan, Kevin Chamberlin, Peyton List, Karan Brar, Cameron Boyce, and Skai Jackson. Ryan, who also produces, is slated to direct an episode this summer. There’s also a wedding arc set for this fall in which Jessie gets engaged. From 2014 to date, Jessie is TV’s No. 1 telecast in its time period, and overall, is TV’s No. 2 live-action series in kids 2-11 (1.6M/4.0) and kids 6-11 (1.3M/5.4), and the No. 4 TV series in tweens 9-14 (1.2M/4.8), according to Nielsen. The series was created by Pamela Eells O’Connell (Family Matters), who serves as executive producer. It’s produced by It’s A Laugh Productions.
Zendaya (Dancing With The Stars, Shake It Up) will star in and co-produce live-action spy comedy K.C. Undercover, Disney Channel said today. The multi-camera series begins production this summer in Los Angeles for an early 2015 premiere. It focuses on K.C. Cooper, a high school math whiz who’s training to be an undercover super spy, following in the footsteps of her parents. Each episode finds the Coopers balancing typical family issues while performing undercover missions to protect the country. Also starring are Kadeem Hardison and Tammy Townsend as K.C.’s parents Craig and Kira Cooper; Kamil McFadden as Ernie, the youngest of the Cooper family; and Veronica Dunne as K.C.’s best friend Marisa. Zendaya is next up in Disney Channel’s original movie Zapped, premiering June 27.
Disney Channel has slotted its new comedy series Girl Meets World and original movie Zapped to bow on Friday, June 27. Zapped, starring actress and recording artist Zendaya (Shake It Up), will air at 8 PM Friday, June 27,as a lead-in to Girl Meets World at 9:45 PM. Girl Meets World, a sequel to TGIF ABC comedy Boy Meets World, has a similar premise to the original series, but, as the title suggests, this is from a girl’s perspective. Rowan Blanchard is introduced as Riley Matthews, the tween daughter of Cory and Topanga Matthews, and Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprise their roles from the original series which aired on ABC from 1993-2000.
Zapped tells the story of Zoey, a girl whose well-ordered life is up-ended when her mother remarries and she finds herself part of a family composed of rambunctious, chaotic, and most of all, messy boys – and a male dog, to boot.She finds salvation when she unwittingly comes into possession of a smartphone app that magically controls boys. Spencer Boldman (Lab Rats) stars as Jackson, the one guy at school who stands apart from everyone else. Chanelle Peloso, Emilia McCarthy and Adam DiMarco co-star. Peter DeLuise directs. Check out the trailers here:
The Tony and Emmy winner will play the classic Sleeping Beauty villain in Disney Channel’s live-action original movie Descendants. Kristin Chenoweth (Rio 2, Glee) will embody Maleficent, who butts horns with her daughter Mal (Dove Cameron). Directed by Kenny Ortega, the tale 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 Maleficent, Cruella De Vil, 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. The cast also includes Booboo Stewart, Sofia Carson, Cameron Boyce and Mitchell Hope. Written by Josann McGibbon and Sara Parriott, the pic is set to begin production next month for a 2015 premiere.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel is looking for the next generation of kids programming talent. A new program introduced today will give writers an opportunity to inspire and develop original shows for Disney Channel and Disney XD-branded platforms. Disney Channel Storytellers, which is open to professionally represented writers, is a 20-week salaried program in which three participants will have a live-action script commissioned as a series pilot, with mentoring from concept and writing to network pitching and pilot production. Other work experience in the program includes pitching ideas to programming execs, writing original scripts and polishing other scripts, and the creative development of digital content for multiple platforms.
The music is playing on for the series about a singer, a songwriter and their two best friends working to achieve their dreams. Disney Channel has picked up a fourth season of Austin & Ally, which stars Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy. The Sunday series from creators/EPs Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert and It’s A Laugh Productions tops its time slot among kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14. No premiere date for Season 4 was announced.
In a sign of the ongoing pull of the UK as a filming location, Disney Channel‘s new multi-part movie Evermoor is gearing up to shoot in Britain. Disney Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) has co-commissioned the longform live-action mystery/adventure/comedy with Disney U.S. It will air on Disney Channel in 160 global territories from the fall. Liverpool-based The Only Way Is Essex producer Lime Pictures, which is owned by All3Media, will make Evermoor for Disney. The story follows Tara Bailey, an American teen who is uprooted from her city home in the U.S. and brought to a beautiful but isolated village on the edge of some very creepy moors in middle England. As her famous novelist mom and step-dad are busy unpacking at Evermoor Manor, Tara, her brother, and her British step-siblings try to adjust to life in their new home. It’s not long before danger, mystery and intrigue unfurl.
Evermoor breaks new ground for Disney, becoming its first live-action movie produced in the UK for broadcast on Disney Channel in the U.S. But it’s no surprise such a Disney project would land in Britain. Already, the movie studio consistently films big features at Pinewood — including the next Star Wars installment later this year. And Marvel titles are regularly shot at Shepperton. But overall, new and expanded TV and film tax credits have made Hollywood sit up — and in some cases line up — to access the market which has a skilled crew base and great facilities.
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 an untitled pilot for the network which she is co-producing, and was runner-up on Dancing With The Stars last year. She has also also written her first book, Between You And Me, sharing advice on fashion, friendships and family with her core youth demo. CAA, along with Monster Talent Management and attorney Bill Skrzyniarz, will seek to broaden her base to feature film and other platforms. Disney Channel has been a strong launch point for everyone from Zac Efron to Shia LaBeouf and Selena Gomez. Here’s her video:
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?
Here’s proof that time-shifted viewing and a target demo whose schedules are horribly unpredictable (at least in a certain Deadline editor’s house) equals victory: Disney said today that its Disney Channel special Sofia The First: The Floating Palace was watched by 7.6 million total viewers last week based on Live+7 ratings, making it the second-most-watched telecast in cable TV history in the kids 2-5 demo and No. 1 in scores of other preschool demos. The only show to beat it? The Sofia The First movie (8.2 million viewers) that officially launched the princess franchise in November 2012. The audience for Floating Palace more than doubled in the time-shifted metric in kids 2-5 (2.63 million vs. 1.10 million) and girls 2-5 (1.85 million vs. 706,000), and grew double digits in total viewers (7.62 million vs. 4.72 million), adults 18-49 (2.15 million vs. 1.40 million) and women 18-49 — aka moms — (1.43 million vs. 911,000). At least around here, our own personal Nielsen viewer watches episodes multiple times and almost never when they’re actually on TV unless by accident, so these kinds of numbers make sense — though the viewership numbers are impressive nonetheless.
As Disney Channel‘s Shake It Up is heading to its series finale this Sunday, series co-lead Zendaya is eying a return to the network’s comedy series lineup with a new show, Super Awesome Katy. Disney Channel has greenlighted a pilot for the project, which centers on 16-year-old Katy Cooper (Zendaya), an outspoken and confident technology wiz and skilled black belt, who discovers that both her parents are spies with aspirations that she will follow in their footsteps. Shake It Up! exec producer Rob Lotterstein wrote the shooting script for the pilot, while the original script was penned by Corinne Marshall. Filming is slated to begin in early 2014 for 2014-15 season consideration. Disney is making a big bet on 17-year-old actress-singer-dancer Zendaya. When Disney Channel in July made the decision to end Shake It Up, it signed a deal with Zendaya to headline an original movie for the channel, the upcoming Zapped. It is now being followed by a series starring vehicle with Super Awesome Katy. Additionally, Zendaya competed on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars last season and is signed by Disney’s Hollywood Records. The Shake It Up finale will feature a new music from her. Lotterstein is repped by ICM Partners. Zendaya was repped in the deal by Skrzyniarz & Mallean.
Remember last month when Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie attracted five times as many viewers as Syfy’s Sharknado! but, sadly, Damon Lindelof did not live-tweet the TBM premiere so the press largely declined to live-hyperventilate as it was premiering?
Well, Nielsen today reported the audience for TBM has swelled by more than 5 million viewers, bringing its Live+7 audience to 13.530 million viewers. That makes it the No. 2 most watched movie in cable TV history, behind only – you know it’s coming – High School Musical 2. HSM2 has an apparently unstoppable Live+7 tally of 18.639 million viewers. To put this in perspective, the most watched non-Disney Channel cable movie ever, TNT’s 2001 Tom Selleck western Crossfire Trail, based on the 1954 Louis L’Amour novel, averaged 12.519 million viewers.