Disney has announced its programming slate for its Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior US channels in advance of its annual upfront presentation (themed Into The Future) to be held today in New York City. The upfront also coincides with the launch of a newly redesigned DisneyChannel.com currently available for preview here.
New Disney Channel programming highlights in animation include the comedy series Wander Over Yonder (created/executive produced by Craig McCracken of The Powerpuff Girls fame), which follows the intergalactic adventures of Wander as he travels from planet to planet helping people have fun and be free against the evil Lord Hater. And the comedy series Gravity Falls (created, executive produced and directed by Alex Hirsch), which premieres in June, follows twin brother and sister Dipper and Mabel who get sent one summer to live with their grumpy Uncle Stan in Oregon
On the live-action front, and in a move that appears to see Disney tap into the formula that made the High School Musical franchise a massive success, Teen Beach Musical (a production of Rainforest Productions) is a new TV movie made in the spirit of surf movie musicals from the 1960s and is set to premiere in summer 2013. The movie was written by Vince Marcello and Mark Landry (Zombie Prom) and Robert Horn (Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure).
Also in live action, Girl vs Monster (working title) is a new Halloween-themed TV movie set to premiere in October about a teenager (Olivia Holt from Disney XD’s Kickin’ It) who discovers her family members are actually monster hunters. Another original movie, Let It Shine, will air on June 15 and is a music-based modern day story inspired by the love letters of Cyrano de Bergerac.
In addition, Code 9, a new practical joke, hidden camera series targeted to kids and families, will premiere this summer and is hosted by Wes Dening (In the Qube) and produced by Evolution Media.
Returning Disney Channel series include the third season of Good Luck Charlie, and in July Disney will present “Summer Adventure Weekend” with new adventure-themed eps of every series on Disney Channel and Disney XD to air over three days. Disney Channel series involved include Gravity Falls, Fish Hooks, Jessie, A.N.T. Farm, Good Luck Charlie, Austin & Ally and Shake It Up. Disney XD series include Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil, Lab Rats, Kickin’ It, Pair of Kings and Mr. Young. A special Phineas and Ferb two-part ep entitled Where’s Perry? will also air during “Summer Adventure Weekend.”
Shake It Up: Made In Japan will premiere in August and is a 90-minute song and dance event, and the second-annual talent competition for kids and tweens called Make Your Mark will begin in July and is a cross-platform Disney initiative that ends with a special telecast in October.
Brand-new Disney XD series include the animated series MotorCity, which will premiere on April 30, is set in a futuristic Detroit that has banned automobile travel, and follows the story of 17-year-old Mike Chilton who leads a group of rebels and their hot rods against the evil Kane.
Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja (produced by Dublin, Ireland-based Boulder Media and LA-based Robin Red Breast, which is Titmouse’s union house in the US) will premiere on Disney XD this fall. The animated comedy chronicles the adventures of Randy Cunningham, who has a magic ninja suit he uses to protect his friends and his school.
Also premiering this year is Tron: Uprising, a new 3D and 2D animated series executive produced and directed by Charlie Bean (Robotboy, Samurai Jack and The Powerpuff Girls) that takes place in the time period between the two Tron feature films.
Ultimate Spider-Man will headline the April 1 premiere of Disney XD’s Marvel programming block which will also feature The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (season two) and a new short-form series that goes behind the scenes at Marvel Universe.
Slugterra, from Canada’s Nerd Corps Entertainment, is also set to air in fall 2012, while American Greetings’ Packages from Planet X debuts in early 2013 and PacMan in spring 2013.
Over at 24-hour Disney Junior, animated series Doc McStuffins is set to premiere and will also air on Disney Channel, and animated TV movie Sofia the First will premiere on Disney Junior in fall 2012 followed by its series premiere in winter 2013 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior worldwide.
Also included in the Disney Junior slate is the new short-form, stop-motion animated series Quiet Is by Scotland-based animation studio Ko Lik Films. The series uses quiet songs and peaceful visuals to help toddlers get ready for bed.
On the interactive side, to better serve mobile savvy kids and tweens, the new DisneyChannel.com has undergone a redesign in a collaboration between the Disney/ABC Television Group’s Digital Media team and the Disney Interactive Media Group.
The site will feature a revamped newsfeed with videos, games, polls, photos and shout-outs. A tween lifestyle section will be added in the next few weeks and additional features including more video, a streaming Radio Disney music option, and photo albums are expected to rollout.