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Disney Upfront Presentation Packed with Animated Programs
Disney unveiled programming plans chock-full of new animated series such as Gravity Falls, Ultimate Spider-Man, Motorcity and 7D at its annual upfront presentation to advertisers Wednesday in New York.
The event, held at Gotham Hall, featured plenty of razzle dazzle, including musical performances from Selena Gomez and China Anne McClain. But the real meat was the slate of 13 new original series that will account for 435 total original episodes in 2011 on Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. That’s an increase of 30 percent over 2010.
Here’s the latest on the animated series — both new and returning — that were part of the presentation.
- Gravity Falls (new animated series): This animated comedy tells the story of twins Dipper and Mabel – two city kids sent to spend the summer with their crusty old great uncle Stan (aka Grunkle Stan) in Gravity Falls, Oregon. Turns out, Gravity Falls is not a run of the mill vacation spot, but is a strange and wondrous place — home to every weird creature and phenomenon imaginable, from gnomes to time portals to quantum waffles. Created and executive-produced by Alex Hirsch (Fish Hooks), the series is a production of Disney Television Animation.
- Phineas and Ferb (returning series and movie): The critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning Phineas and Ferb is TV’s #1 animated series among tweens for three years running, and has inspired a Disney Channel Original Movie, Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, that transports Phineas and Ferb to a parallel dimension where a truly evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz is actually succeeding at taking over the world. The movie is set to premiere in summer 2011. The series is on both Disney Channel and Disney XD. Both the series and movie were created and are executive-produced by Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. Both are productions of Disney Television Animation. The voice cast includes Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster, Ashley Tisdale, Mitchel Musso, Caroline Rhea, Richard O’Brien, Dee Bradley Baker and Alyson Stoner.
- Ultimate Spider-Man (new animated series): The centerpiece of an upcoming Marvel programming block on Disney XD, this animated series from Marvel follows Peter Parker who, as the storyline begins, has been Spider-Man for just one year. He’s fought villains, saved lives, but still has much to learn about being a super-hero. Now, Nick Fury gives Peter the chance to go to the next level — to train to be a real super-hero and become The Ultimate Spider-Man. But before he can do that, Peter will have to learn how to work with a team of fellow teenage super-heroes. The series’ award-winning creative team includes Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series, Lost), the creative powerhouse Man of Action Studios (creators of Ben 10 and Generator Rex), comprised of lauded creators Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle; and Brian Michael Bendis (visionary behind Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man comic series).
- Motorcity (new animated series): This animated series is set in a futuristic Detroit owned by evil billionaire Abraham Kane. Having banned personal freedoms including automobile transportation, Kane now faces one last obstacle, a group of hot-rod wielding rebels who call themselves The Burners. Led by Mike Chilton, The Burners rise to stop Kane from conquering Detroit’s last oasis of freedom – an underground refuge dubbed Motorcity. The series, created by Chris Prynoski and produced by Disney Television Animation and Titmouse, Inc., is slated to premiere in winter 2012 on Disney XD. The voice cast is Reid Scott, Nate Torrence, Kate Micucci, Kel Mitchell, Jess Harnell, Brian Doyle Murray, Jim Breuer and Mark Hamill. It is executive produced and directed by Chris Prynoski (Metalocalypse, Megas XLR, Downtown). Craig Lewis (Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends) is the story editor and John O’Bryan (Avatar: The Last Airbender) and George Krstic (Star Wars: Clone Wars) are staff writers.
- Tron: Uprising (new animated series): This visually stunning series, scheduled to premiere in fall 2012 on Disney XD, focuses on an era of the Tron storyline that transpires after the 1982 feature film and before the story in Tron: Legacy. Its impressive list of artists, animators, directors, producers and digital technicians includes executive producer/director Charlie Bean (Robotboy, Samurai Jack and Powerpuff Girls), and consulting producers Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz (both screenwriters of Tron: Legacy / executive producers of Lost) and Justin Springer (co-producer of Tron: Legacy). The series will be preceded by a 10-part Tron micro-series launching in winter 2012 on Disney XD. The voice cast includes Elijah Wood, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Mandy Moore, Nate Corddry, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reubens, Reginald VelJohnson and Bruce Boxleitner.
- Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil (returning series): The hit animated series premieres its second season in April, a season filled with notable guest stars including NBA star Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Tony Hawk, Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Will Forte (Saturday Night Live), Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family), legendary entertainer Debbie Reynolds and Jay Harris (ESPN’s SportsCenter). The series stars Charlie Schlatter, Matt L. Jones, Danny Cooksey, John DiMaggio and Eric Christian Olsen. Recurring are Henry Winkler, Emily Osment, Simon Helberg and Alyssa Milano. Created and executive-produced by Sandro Corsaro and produced and directed by Chris Savino, the series is a production of Disney Television Animation.
- Doc McStuffins (new animated series): The doctor is in … and she will launch the 24-hour Disney Junior channel in 2012. Doc McStuffins is an imaginative animated series about six-year-old Dottie “Doc” McStuffins, who communicates with and heals stuffed animals and toys out of her backyard clinic. The series will highlight the importance of taking care of oneself and others, while showcasing the hallmarks of great Disney storytelling – fantasy and wish fulfillment. The Hollywood Health & Society division of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center will serve as the health and medical consultant for the series, advising on core health issues that are relevant to young kids and families. Emmy Award-winning writer Chris Nee (Little Bill) is the creator and executive producer and Emmy Award-winning Norton Virgien (Rugrats) is the director. Doc McStuffins is a production of the Dublin, Ireland-based Academy Award-nominated animation studio Brown Bag Films (Granny O’Grimm, Give Up Yer Aul Sins) in association with Disney Channel.
- Oki’s Oasis (new animated series): The first animated western for preschoolers, Oki’s Oasis stars Mandy Moore (Disney’s Tangled) as the voice of Oki, a kitty cat sheriff in the town of Nice and Friendly Corners, the friendliest town in the West. With the help of her deputy woodpecker, Peck, Oki makes sure the town stays “nice and friendly” and when trouble comes a-calling, she makes sure it doesn’t stay long. The series imparts social skills and lessons on the value of being a “good neighbor.” Produced by George Evelyn and Denis Morella, it is a production of Wildbrain Entertainment.
- Sofia the First (new animated special and series pilot): Sofia the First, a full length animated special and series pilot, set in the storybook world of the classic Disney Princesses, introduces Sofia, a little girl with a commoner’s background until her mom marries the King and suddenly she is royalty. Sofia is whisked off to the castle, where she learns what it means to be a real princess, discovering empowering lessons about kindness, forgiveness, generosity, courage and self-respect. With the help of the three familiar fairies in charge of the Royal Training Academy – Flora, Fauna and Merryweather of Disney’s classic Sleeping Beauty – Sofia learns that looking like a princess isn’t all that hard, but behaving like one must come from the heart. The writer is Craig Gerber (The Pixie Hollow Games) and the executive producer/director is Jamie Mitchell (Special Agent Oso). It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
- 7D (new animated series pilot): Creators, including Walt Disney himself, have long been inspired to access classic folk and fairy tales … re-imagining, reinterpreting and reinventing them for new generations. The animated series pilot 7D takes a new creative approach to the beloved Brothers Grimm tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, re-imagining it in a comic and contemporary storybook world. The new music-filled stories introduce the whimsical world of Jollywood, where the kind-hearted Queen Delightful calls upon the 7D – Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc – for assistance. Emmy Award-winning Tom Ruegger (Animaniacs) directs the pilot written by Craig Shemin (Tasty Time with ZeFronk) with character design by Noah Z. Jones (Fish Hooks). It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
- Minnie Bow-Toons (new animated short form series): This new short form series was inspired by a popular episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that focuses on Mickey’s #1 gal, Minnie Mouse, and her friend Daisy Duck and is set in Minnie’s Bow-Tique (which stocks only bows and bow-ties). Scheduled for a 2011 premiere, it will be followed soon thereafter by a full-length series that takes place at Minnie’s Bow-tique Hotel and follows the comedic happenings as some familiar guests, including the Hippo from Fantasia, check in. On any given day, Minnie acts as hostess, party planner, chef, fashion consultant, riding instructor or tour guide, with Daisy taking on the role of a very chatty front desk clerk. Clarabelle is a cow of all trades, taking on a number of jobs – bellhop, maintenance worker, pool attendant, juice bar attendant and room service waitress – all for which she is completely ill-suited. Minnie’s Bow-Toons is produced by Kate Boutilier and Eryk Casemiro (Olivia) and directed by Robert Ramirez (Can You Teach My Alligator Manners?). It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
- Jake and the Never Land Pirates (animated series): A second season pick-up was announced for Jake and the Never Land Pirates, following its remarkable premiere to record-setting ratings on Disney Channel. It is the #1 series on TV among both Kids 2-5 and Boys 2-5 2011 to date, and is posting significant year-to-year time period growth with Kids 2-5 (+40%), Boys 2-5 (+60%), Girls 2-5 (+19%), and notably with Women 18-49 (+36%) and Total Viewers (+37%). The animated adventure introduces a crew of kid pirates – leader Jake and pals Izzy and Cubby – and follows their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit two infamous characters, the one and only Captain Hook and Smee, from Disney’s classic Peter Pan. The learning-focused series emphasizes teamwork and features original pirate rock music performed by The Never Land Pirate Band. The executive producer is Rob LaDuca (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) and producer/story editor is Mark Seidenberg. Kelly Ward is the voice director and Howy Parkins is the director. It is a production of Disney Television Animation.
Which of these do you think will turn out best? What will you be watching? What will your kids be watching? Let us know in the comments.