EXCLUSIVE: Parents of kids of a certain age can breathe easier: The preschooler-targeted network has picked up Sofia The First and Doc McStuffins for third seasons and Jake And The Never Land Pirates for a fourth. All three Disney Junior shows ranked among the top cable series among kids 2-5 last year and in the top 10 preschooler cable TV series in total viewers and women 18-49. Sofia The First, which follows the adventures of Disney’s first little-girl princess, has been on a tear ratings-rise: Last month’s special Sofia The First: The Floating Palace was the second-most-watched telecast in cable TV history in the kids 2-5 demo and No. 1 in scores of other preschool demos. It and Doc McStuffins, about a 6-year-old girl who runs a clinic for her stuffed animals and toys, also are nominated for Annie Awards. Jake And The Never Land Pirates, featuring a crew of kid pirates alongside the classic characters Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, was Annie-nommed the previous year. All three series air daily on Disney Junior and Disney Channel and are seen in more than 130 countries.
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There appears to be a trend here that might disturb studios that released family films with the expectation of seeing a windfall from licensed merchandise sales. The new pre-holiday recommendations from Toys ‘R Us (it lists its “Fabulous 15″) and Walmart (it has 23 items it says were “Chosen by Kids”) feature TV characters including Disney Junior’s Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Sesame Street’s Elmo. But when it comes to films, Toys ‘R Us suggests one from Universal’s Despicable Me 2, and Walmart has something from Disney’s Planes — but there’s nothing from DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, Fox’s Epic, Pixar’s Monsters University, or Sony’s Smurfs 2. It’s a sign of a larger trend says International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association SVP Marty Brochstein. “TV seems to be grabbing more of the attention and shelf space,” he says. Some film properties were hurt by the summer’s animation glut. Read More »
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 … Read More »
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.
The animated series debuts on Friday, January 11 at 9:30 AM on Disney Channel and at 5:30 PM on Disney Junior. The premiere dates announcement comes just more than a week after the series’ 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 and girls 2-5. Created for kids ages 2-7, Sofia The First tells the story of Princess Sofia, an adventurous girl who is adjusting to royal life after her mom marries the king and she becomes a princess overnight. The series features the voices of Ariel Winter as Sofia; Sara Ramirez as Queen Miranda, Sofia’s loyal and caring mother; Wayne Brady as Clover, Sofia’s wise-talking rabbit sidekick; and Tim Gunn as Baileywick, the castle’s royal steward. The guest voice cast includes Eric Stonestreet, Viola Davis, Bonnie Hunt, Ellie Kemper, Megan Mullally, Kiernan Shipka and Jeffrey Tambor. Craig Gerber (Pixie Hollow Games) developed the series and serves as co-executive producer and story editor. Jamie Mitchell (Special Agent Oso) is executive producer and director. Sofia The First is a production of Disney Television Animation.
Related: Disney Jr’s ‘Sofia The First’ Pulls 5.2 Million