The 10-year reign of Corus Entertainment’s 24/7 preschool channel Treehouse as the only net of its kind that serves more than six million Canadian households is about to come to an end. Competing conglom Astral Media will be getting more than a little help from Mickey and friends to launch Playhouse Disney Canada on November 30. The new net is being beamed into the 5.5 million households that currently subscribe to Astral’s Family Channel.
Bell ExpressVu Digital TV subscribers will be the first to get access to the new channel that’s drawing 60% of its programming lineup from Disney. However, VP and GM of Family Channel Joe Tedesco says, ‘Original Canadian preschool proprieties that we have under license, will be a strong component of the schedule.’ He adds that Astral is currently working to ink additional carrier deals for the channel to up penetration numbers.
Already on the sked are Toronto, Canada-based Decode Entertainment’s Franny’s Feet and Amberwood Production’s The Secret World of Benjamin Bear, which are both currently licensed by family channel.
As for management, Tedesco will oversee Playhouse Disney Canada in addition to Family Channel, and other hires, including those on the programming side, are in the works.