It’s not a big surprise that Disney Channel is going for a second round of Gravity Falls. It’s TV’s No. 1 animated series across Kids 2-11 (2 million viewers/5.1), Kids 6-11 (1.6 million/6.7) and Tweens 9-14 (1.3 million/5.4). Word of the second season order comes just days after Disney Channel announced it was ending Shake It Up after 78 episodes and in June Disney Channel said it was wrapping Good Luck Charlie after four seasons. Created and exec-produced by Alex Hirsch, Gravity Falls follows twin brother and sister Dipper (voiced by Jason Ritter) and Mabel Pines (voiced by Kristen Schaal) as they spend summer with their eccentric great uncle Stan (voiced by Hirsch), in the town of Gravity Falls. The series’ growing fan base looks for the unique “secret message” at the end of each episode’s credits. The key for decoding the message is incorporated in various episodes. Gravity Falls is a production of Disney Television Animation.
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 and Hulk. Now another big Disney brand is getting in on the action: a one-hour episode of Phineas And Ferb is in production that will see the toon’s characters in the same space and time as the world of Star Wars. The announcement was made today at Comic-Con by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, the series’ creators and executive producers. The plot: Phineas and Ferb are living happily on Tatooine, just one moisture farm over from Luke Skywalker. They love simply hanging out and creating new adventures under the twin suns but find themselves thrust into a global rebellion when the plans for blowing up the Death Star accidentally fall into their hands. The episode is set to air in 2014. The Marvel-themed episode, meanwhile, airs August 16 on Disney Channel and August 25 on Disney XD. Disney Television Animation produces the toon.
The lucrative brand integration of Disney and Marvel is hardly exclusive to the big screen. The latter’s superheroes are already familiar faces in such TV shows as Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble on Disney’s XD. Now those super-characters are set to cross over into Disney Channel‘s most popular animated series in “Phineas And Ferb: Mission Marvel,” in which the titular stepbrothers team with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk to battle a gaggle of supervillains and Phineas And Ferb baddie Dr. Doofenshmirtz. The episode will premiere August 16 on Disney Channel, be available for download the next day, and bow August 25 on XD.
Disney Channel has picked up to series comedy pilot I Didn’t Do It starring Olivia Holt (Disney XD’s Kickin’ It, Disney Channel’s Girl Vs. Monster) and newcomer Austin North (Kickin’ It). Created by Tod Himmel (90210) and Josh Silverstein (So Random!), I Didn’t Do It centers on ultra-competitive fraternal twins Lindy and Logan Watson (Holt, North), who, together with their best friends (Piper Curda, Sarah Gilman, Peyton Clark), navigate their freshman year of high school. Each episode begins with a comedic “what just happened?” situation as Lindy and Logan each spin their own accounts in the form of flashbacks. Production will begin this summer in Los Angeles for a scheduled early 2014 premiere. Himmel and Judd Pillot executive produce, with Silverstein serving as supervising producer. The pickup comes on the heels of Disney Channel’s series order earlier this week to Boy Meets World sequel Girl Meets World.
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.”
Disney Channel is not backlash intolerant. After catching flak over an episode of its sophomore comedy Jessie that made fun of a young character’s gluten intolerance in two scenes, the cable outlet has offered a mea culpa — apologizing and pulling the half-hour titled “Quitting Cold Koala.” “We are removing this particular episode from our regular programming schedule and will re-evaluate its references to gluten restrictions in the character’s diet,” Disney Channel said on Facebook. “Please accept our apologies for the upset this episode caused you and your family.”
Disney Channel is bringing back a contemporary, family version of the classic game show Win Lose or Draw. Justin Willman (Cupcake Wars) will host the show set to begin production in July. It will premiere later this year on Disney Channel. Each show will feature two teams each composed of two kid contestants and a Disney star, competing in a battle of drawing skills, creativity and wits to win prizes. The new version incorporates leading edge technology, motion control, interactive multi-touch screen displays and graphic technology. Win, Lose Or Draw is executive produced by Scott St. John (Deal Or No Deal) and produced by Summerdale Productions in association with ABC Media Group. The original game show Win, Lose Or Draw aired on NBC from 1987-90 and in syndication. Disney’s Teen Win, Lose Or Draw aired on Disney Channel from 1989-92.
Disney Channel has ordered a third season of Austin & Ally, which stars Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy. Production resumes in Los Angeles in July, with Season 3 scheduled to premiere in October 2013. Created by Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert, and executive-produced by Kopelow, Seifert and Rick Nyholm, Austin & Ally follows the adventures of an improbable pair — a singer and a songwriter, and their two best friends — trying to achieve their dreams. Austin & Ally is TV’s #1 series in Kids 2-11 (2.3 million/5.9 rating), Kids 6-11 (1.9 million/8.1 rating) and Tweens 9-14 (1.8 million/7.7 rating). The series hit a series ratings high among Tweens during the quarter.
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.
The order comes ahead of the Disney Channel series’ Season 2 finale in September. In the current season, Jesse is No. 1 series in its Friday time period in the kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and tween demos, growing from its first year. Production on Season 3 will begin in July in LA ahead of a fall launch. The series stars Debby Ryan as a nanny for the high-profile Ross family — 14-year-old Emma, the biological child of the bunch, 11-year-old Indian adoptee Ravi, 12-year-old American adoptee Luke and 8-year-old African adoptee Zuri. Helping her to navigate young-adulthood are Bertram, the family’s butler, and Tony, her boyfriend and the building’s doorman. “Our viewers deeply connect with this cast of characters, and the upcoming season will focus on the Ross kids beginning to navigate young adulthood while challenging their favorite nanny with new and entertaining situations”, said Adam Bonnet, SVP Original Programming for Disney Channels Worldwide. The series, from It’s A Laugh Prods, was created by Pamela Eells O’Connell, who serves as executive producer. Ryan is a co-producer.
The beloved teacher has joined Disney Channel’s pilot for Girl Meets World, a potential reboot/followup to the ABC series Boy Meets World. William Daniels will reprise the signature role as Mr. Feeny, Deadline confirmed. Boy Meets World stars Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel were already aboard as grownup versions of their characters Cory and Topanga. The followup observes the world from the perspective of their daughter Riley, played by Rowan Blanchard. Project is from Michael Jacobs, co-creator/exec producer of the original show that ran on ABC from 1993 through 2000. (Photo of Daniels with Maitland Ward from the original series via Instagram)
The Wizards Of Waverly Place and star Selena Gomez couldn’t quite capture the magic of the hit franchise’s heyday. Last night’s Disney Channel original movie The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, delivered 5.9 million total viewers. That was less than half the audience of the 2009 TV movie Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie (13.5 million), which ranks as the #2 cable TV movie ever (behind High School Musical 2). Still, Alex vs. Alex did better than recent Disney Channel films like Girl Vs. Monster (4.9 million) and Let It Shine (5.7 million). It delivered 2.9 million Kids 2-11, 2.3 million Kids 6-11 and 2.2 million Tweens 9-14, ranking as the #1 cable TV telecast of 2013 to date in Tweens 9-14, the #2 cable TV telecast in Kids 2-11 and Kids 6-11, and the #1 kids’ cable TV telecast in Total Viewers. The hourlong special buoyed an all-new episode of Gravity Falls to a series high in Total Viewers (4.5 million). It posted its #2 telecast ever in Tweens 9-14 (1.7 million) and #3 telecast in Kids 2-11 (2.5 million).
Disney‘s Mickey Mouse started his screen journey in 1928 with a series of shorts, including Plane Crazy and Steamboat Willie. Now the classic cartoon character is coming back with a new short-form series of 2D comedy cartoons, Mickey Mouse. After a preview today at noon PT on Disney.com, the series of 19 toon shorts will begin rolling out July 28 on Disney Channel, Disney.com and Watch Disney Channel, among other platforms. The announcement is among several being made today by Disney Channel, which is holding its upfront presentation in New York. While the direction and pacing of the new Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts are contemporary, they also are an homage to the art direction and storytelling of Walt Disney and his animators in the 1920s and ’30s. Each short finds Mickey in a different contemporary setting including Santa Monica, New York, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Venice and the Alps, facing a silly situation, a quick complication and an escalation of physical and visual gags.
‘Boy Meets World’ Spinoff Will Be In Disney Channel Upfront Presentation Despite Racy Danielle Fishel Magazine Cover
Boy Meets World star Danielle Fishel raised a few eyebrows with her racy spread in Maxim magazine, which has given celebrity blogosphere fodder for the past couple of days. But the timing of the story — just a few days before Disney Channel‘s upfront presentation next Tuesday, also reverberated to the higher-ups at Disney. Fishel and her Boy Meets World co-star Ben Savage topline Disney Channel’s spinoff pilot, now in production, which somewhat surprisingly has sparked a ton of interest from fans — thus Fishel’s Maxim interview. But the racy photos and some information she shared in the interview, including a cocaine reference, which I hear came as a surprise to Disney executive and Boy Meets World creator Michael Jacobs, triggered rampant speculation that unhappy Disney Channel brass, led by topper Gary Marsh, would be yanking the hot project from the upfront presentation where it was to be a major piece. But while the Maxim cover may not have been the best way to re-introduce the family-friendly franchise to a new generation, the spinoff is not being banished from Disney Channel’s upfront presentation, a network spokesperson said. “While the project is a pilot, and hasn’t yet filmed, it will then be put through focus group testing so we won’t know if it will be a series for months to come — however, because we are excited about it, we are taking the unusual step of including …
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of the breakout success of Sofia The First on Disney Junior, Disney Channel has ordered an animated series about a little older princess, voiced by The Middle‘s Eden Sher. The channel has given the green light to Star And The Forces Of Evil (working title), an animated comedy adventure about Star Butterfly (Sher), a fun-loving magical teen princess from another dimension who — after a few bold skirmishes with other-worldly monsters — is sent by her Royal Parents to live with the Diaz family on Earth. Soon, she takes their teenage son Marco on adventures to help her battle evil villains, whether throughout the universe or in their high school, all in an effort to protect Star’s powerful magic wand… which she’s still figuring out how to use.
The series was created by young artist and writer Daron Nefcy (on right), who serves as co-executive producer. She is a 2009 California Institute of the Arts graduate who is known in the Los Angeles underground art community. She recently worked on Disney Channel’s upcoming animated series Wander Over Yonder and the Warner Bros. animated series MAD. “Disney continues to focus on discovering fresh voices in animation,” said Eric Coleman, SVP, Original Series, Disney TV Animation. “When Daron pitched her show, we fell in love with her characters, her style, and her …
On the heels of Disney Junior‘s breakout hit Sofia The First hitting series highs for two consecutive weeks, the pre-school animated series has been renewed for a second season. Sofia the First, which airs on Disney Channel‘s daily programming block for preschoolers Disney Junior as well as the 24-hour channel Disney Junior, is the top cable TV series among Kids 2-5, Girls 2-5 and Boys 2-5. It launched with the ratings records-breaking TV movie Sofia The First: Once Upon A Princess and has spawned a successful soundtrack album. Sofia The First toy and apparel lines and theme park attractions are also in the works.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel has ordered a second season of Dog With A Blog. The first season of the live-action family sitcom told from the family pet’s point of view premiered in October and ranked as the No. 2 TV series of fourth-quater 2012 in kids 2-11 (2.1 million/5.3 rating) and kids 6-11 (1.7 million/7.1 rating). (Dog viewership not available.) The series, created by Michael Kaplan, follows newly adopted dog Stan; step-siblings Tyler (Blake Michael), Avery (G Hannelius), and (Chloe Francesca Capaldi); and their parents Bennett (Regan Burns) and Elle (Beth Littleford) as they adjust to life as a new family. Stan, whose blog is available online, is played by canine Mick and voiced by Stephen Full. In conjunction with Dog With A Blog, Disney Channel has been airing a PSA educating kids on responsible pet adoption and encouraging kindness to animals.