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 it during Disney Media’s presentation to advertisers. Gary Marsh will make that presentation.”
‘Boy Meets World’ Spinoff Will Be In Disney Channel Upfront Presentation Despite Racy Danielle Fishel Magazine Cover
Last night’s premiere of Disney Junior’s animated special Sofia The First: Once Upon A Princess delivered 5.2 million total viewers on Disney Channel, becoming the top cable telecast of 2012 among kids 2-5 (1.5 million/9.1 rating) and girls 2-5 (954,000/12.2 rating). In fact, Sofia The First, which stirred controversy over the ethnicity of the lead character, ranked as the No. 1 cable TV telecast in five years in kids 2-5 (since Spongebob Atlantis Pantis on November 12, 2007) and in more than 10 years in girls 2-5 (Oswald on May 6, 2002). It now stands as Disney Channel’s No. 1 telecast ever among girls 2-5, its No. 2 telecast among kids 2-5 (behind High School Musical 2) and its No. 1 preschool telecast ever in total viewers, adults 18-49 and women 18-49. The movie averaged more than 3.0 million kids 2-11 and more than 1.4 million adults 18-49. It will have its Disney Jr premiere on Thursday at 9 AM.
It’s official. The Disney Channel comedy series will return for a third season. It begins with musical prodigy Chyna Parks and her friends, Olive Doyle and Fletcher Quimby plus Lexi Reed, who reveals her own …
Selena Gomez will executive produce and star in Disney Channel‘s one-hour Wizards Of Waverly Place special set to premiere in early 2013. She’ll join Jake T. Austin, Jennifer Stone, Maria Canals-Barrera, David DeLuise and Gregg Sulkin, who’ll reprise their original roles.
The storyline takes the Russo family and friends to Tuscany, Italy, to meet their long-lost relatives, but when Alex (Gomez) tries to prove she’s more than a seemingly carefree young wizard, she inadvertently conjures a spell that creates a Good Alex and an Evil Alex. When Evil Alex gets roped into a foreboding plan to take over the world, Good Alex must find a way to save her family and humankind, which leads to a monumental battle between the two versions of herself — all atop the Tower of Pisa.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel has ordered a third season of hit dance-driven buddy comedy Shake It Up. Following its premiere in November 2010, Shake It Up ranked as the No. 1 series of 2011 among tweens 9-14, and for second quarter 2012-to-date, it is the No. 1 TV series among kids 2-11 (2.0 million/4.9 rating) and kids 6-11 (1.6 million/6.7 rating). The series inspired Disney Channel’s first-ever talent competition for kids and tweens, Make Your Mark: Ultimate Dance Off – Shake It Up Edition, a successful soundtrack and merchandizing line.
Disney said today that it is introducing a new princess fairytale line beginning next year with the launch of Sofia The First, which will premiere as an animated TV movie in fall 2012 and continue as a series set to bow in spring 2013 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior channels worldwide. It will be the first time among Disney’s storybook princesses franchises that the main character is a little girl, who is whisked off to a glamorous but often confusing castle world of royalty, pomp and new step-siblings after her mom marries the king. The idea is to target the preschool demo. “In Sofia, we have a ‘peer to peer princess,’ a relatable girl experiencing the same social issues as our young viewers – learning how to fit in, making new friends, conquering new skills and building sibling relationships,” said Nancy Kanter, SVP Original Programming and General Manager of Disney Junior Worldwide. Ariel Winter (ABC’s Modern Family) will provide the voice of Sofia; the voice cast also includes Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) as Queen Miranda; Wayne Brady (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) as Clover, a wise-talking rabbit; and Tim Gunn (Project Runway) as Baileywick, the family’s Royal Steward.
Credit Suisse’s Spencer Wang says that his review of independent audience data shows that Viacom has a real problem on its hands — it isn’t the victim of a possible Nielsen snafu, as Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has charged. The analyst cut his ad-growth forecast for Viacom’s current quarter in half, to 3%, and shaved 4 cents off his earnings-per-share estimate, to $1.02, after he concluded that “Nick has lost viewership share to the Disney Channel.” Wang doesn’t let Nielsen off the hook completely. He says that Nick’s audience is really down vs last year by mid- to high-single-digit percentages, not the mid-to-high teens that the ratings service reports. What accounts for the drop? Wang doesn’t buy the thesis that Nick viewers continue to watch its shows but on Netflix, which had 140 programs from the kids’ network in 2011 vs 80 last year and 28 in 2009. Most of this year’s additional Nick content went to Netflix in February, but the ratings drop accelerated in October. He recognizes that the overall audience among children 11 and under is falling — it’s -4% in October and -4.8% in November. Still, ratings at the Disney Channel grew about 10% in both months. That means “some shift in viewer share within the children’s demo” accounts for Nick’s losses. But this isn’t just a blame game. Viacom’s the loser because Nielsen ratings still determine ad rates. And based on the ratings company’s data, Nick is delivering about 1.3M viewers, not the 1.6M Wang estimates it promised advertisers in upfront market sales. That’s significant. A 17% drop in Nick’s ratings this quarter would translate into a shortfall of about 3,000 spots, which he says is about 14.3% of its total inventory.