Today, the Walt Disney Co. finally announced the debut date for its new 24-hour basic cable and satellite channel aimed at kids ages 2 to 7.
Disney said that its Disney Junior channel will launch March 23 in the United States.
The new channel will highlight such current kid-friendly shows as “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” It also will feature new programs for youngsters, too.
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The announcement, made during winter TV critics tour in California, said that the new channel will be carried by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks, Verizon and others. Disney officials also said the current Disney Junior daily programming block will continue on Disney Channel, too.
As well as being an entertainment outlet, the new channel will air programs with an educational component in mind, Disney officials said.
In an announcement released by Disney, Nancy Kanter, senior vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, said: “Disney Junior series each have specific curriculum experts and now, to maximize overall learning value, we are deepening our conversation to include a channel advisory council that will share research and knowledge in the world of education and bring important perspectives on innovations in early childhood learning.”
Among some of the new programming that will be available on the channel is a program titled “Doc McStuffins.” The animated series is about a 6-year-old girl who communicates with and heals stuffed animals and toys in her backyard clinic.
According to Disney, the series will stress the importance of taking care of oneself and others. It is being made under the consultancy of the Hollywood Health & Society division of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. Several Emmy Award winning creators are behind the program.
Other programs include:
-- “Magical World of Disney Junior,” a weekend movie night featuring telecasts of Disney's classic and contemporary movies.
-- “Gaspard and Lisa,” which is about the adventures of two best friend puppies as they experience the wonders and challenges of school and family life in Paris. This series is based on the books by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben.
-- “Guess How Much I Love You,” which is being promoted by Disney as “a tender animated series centered on the father-son relationship between Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare.” It is based on the UK picture book, “Guess How Much I Love You,” by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram.
More info about the new channel can be found at DisneyJuniorTheChannel.com.