Disney-ABC Launches Stage 9

The Disney-ABC Television Group today announced the launch of Stage 9 Digital Media, an experimental new media initiative that will feature a slate of more than 20 short-form programs spanning comedy, drama, animation and reality. Aimed squarely at the 18-34 age group, the offerings will range from traditional linear episodes to fully immersive, interactive content. The flagship production is a live-action comedy series titled Squeegees, which is sponsored by Toyota and premieres today on ABC.com and YouTube.

‘An integral part of our overall digital strategy, Stage 9 was created to bridge the gap between user-generated content and traditional production, and is a perfect example of how we are continually looking at innovative methods to develop, produce, market and distribute the high-quality programming that consumers demand,” comments Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks, and president of Disney-ABC Television Group. ‘By partnering with extremely talented creative individuals and producing in a variety of genres, Stage 9 has the ability and positioning to put experimental new media content on the map.’

Academy Award-winning short-form producer and ABC Studios exec VP Barry Jossen will serve as general manager of Stage 9. He and his team will work with emerging talent from the online community to create content for top broadband video sites, online social networks, mobile outlets and download services. The studio will also collaborate with Disney-ABC International Television on global digital distribution.

Among the Stage 9 programs scheduled to debut this spring is the original science fiction action thriller Trenches from Shane Felux, the critically acclaimed filmmaker and creator of the internet sensations Pitching George Lucas and Star Wars Revelations. Set in another time, on another planet, Trenches begins in the waning days of a grueling war as a botched rescue attempt forces a young soldier and his unit to team with their enemy to survive a brutal threat and escape the planet.