With the Disney Channel drawing plenty of girls (the Hannah Montana/HSM effect), Disney is going to turn Toon Disney into "Disney XD," which it calls "a compelling mix of live-action and animated programming for kids age 6-14, hyper-targeting boys." Changes tarts in February '09. Full release after the jump.
Disney will re-brand its Toon Disney television and online platforms in the U.S. to become Disney XD. The new brand will include a compelling mix of live-action and animated programming for kids age 6-14, hyper-targeting boys and their quest for discovery, accomplishment, sports, adventure and humor. The transition will begin in February 2009 on television, online, mobile and VOD platforms. The programming will span series, movies and short-form, as well as sports-themed programming developed with ESPN. The announcement was made today by Rich Ross, President, Disney Channels Worldwide. The channel is a 24-hour, advertiser supported network and currently reaches nearly 70 million households via its basic cable affiliates.
For the 19 Jetix channels and six Toon Disney branded channels and programming in all other parts of the world, any potential re-branding decisions will be made on a case by case basis at a later date.
Ross said: “Disney Channel is a huge business serving kids all around the world, and it's especially successful with girls, and our goal with Disney XD is to have that same success ratio with boys. Disney XD will showcase great stories and empowering characters with Disney's brand credibility and a cool creative factor that will set it apart from the pack."
Disney XD will be the seventh brand in the kid-driven, family inclusive TV and radio business of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). The global portfolio encompasses Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel, Radio Disney, Disney Cinemagic, Toon Disney and Jetix.
Disney XD programming will reflect the boy demographic’s fundamental values of accomplishment, learning, discovery and growth, and will be differentiated by Disney-branded live-action movies, new and library animated programming and original programming developed with the leader in sports entertainment, ESPN. These initiatives range from original programming to newly packaged X Games content.
The Disney XD launch schedule will include:
-- "Aaron Stone" – an original live-action, single camera adventure series about a teenager who is enlisted to become the real life version of a legendary, crime fighting online game character. The series stars Kelly Blatz, David Lambert, JP Manoux ("ER," Disney Channel's "The Emperor's New School" and "Phil of the Future") and Tania Gunadi (Disney Channel's "Pixel Perfect" and "Go Figure"). Executive-produced by Bruce Kalish (Disney Channel's "The Famous Jett Jackson") and Suzanne French ("Overruled!" "Life with Derek"), the series is produced in High Definition (HD) format by Shaftesbury Services II, Inc.
-- "Mongoose & Luther (working title) – an original comedy, filmed in single camera documentary style, about two best friends who set their sights on becoming world famous skateboarders. Starring are Hutch Dano, Adam Hicks, Daniel Curtis Lee and Ryan Newman. The creators and executive producers are Matt Dearborn and Tom Burkhard (both of Disney Channel's "Even Stevens"). Filmed in HD format, the series is a production of Turtle Rock Productions, Inc.
-- "Hero and Not" (working title) -- an animated short-form series produced in Italy by Studio Bozzetto & Co SRL.
-- "RoboDz" -- a comedic 3D, CG-animated and live action short form series co-produced by Toei Animation Company Ltd., and Walt Disney Television International Japan.
-- Disney's animated hit "Phineas and Ferb" -- television's #1 animated series among Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14 and, among all primetime animated series on TV, #4 among Boys 6-11 and #3 among Boys 6-14.
-- "Batman: The Animated Series," "Superman: The Animated Series," "Spider-Man" and "Iron Man."
Disney's flagship TV content provider, Disney Channel, is already the leader in the Girl 6-14 demographic with hit series ("Hannah Montana" and "Wizards of Waverly Place") and the gold-standard in live-action movies for kids and families ("Camp Rock," "High School Musical" and "The Cheetah Girls"). For 2007, Disney Channel was basic cable's #1 channel in primetime among Total Viewers (2.69 million), the biggest total audience for any cable network on record. It was also #1 in primetime for the fifth year running in Kids 6-11, with a streak of seven straight years in Tweens 9-14. In total day measurement, it was #1 among Tweens 9-14. Disney Channel's success continues in 2008. As of last week, Disney Channel primetime has been #1 among Kids 6-11 for 172 consecutive weeks and #1 among Tweens 9-14 for 168 consecutive weeks.