Disney Channels Worldwide To Ramp Up Series Episodes By 30%

Disney Channels Worldwide is increasing the number of original series episodes it will air in its fiscal 2011 (Oct.1-Sept. 30) by some 30% over 2010, according to Disney Channels Worldwide president Carolina Lightcap.

Lightcap and Gary Marsh, president of entertainment and chief creative officer for the company, previewed to reporters on Nov. 4 its programming plans, which include the ramp-up on series across the Disney Channel brands, what the execs call a "renaissance" for animation at the company, and a bump up in original movies from five in 2010 to seven next year.

The network has also given the green light to:

--Tron: Uprising, an animated spin-off of the "Tron" feature films set to premiere on Disney XD in summer 2012;
--Wasabi Warriors (working title), a live-action comedy set at a strip mall martial arts studio also for Disney XD; and
--A.N.T. Farm (working title), a live-action comedy series for Disney Channel set to begin production in early 2011, starring 12-year-old China McClain as a musical prodigy enrolled in the gifted program at the local high school.

The execs indicated production on the third season of Demi Lovato-led Disney Channel series Sonny With A Chance, which is scheduled for mid-January, would depend on the actress/singer, who bowed out of her music tour with The Jonas Brothers while seeking treatment for mental health issues.

At the press briefing, Lightcap and Marsh played clips of shows in various stages of development across Disney Channel, Disney XD and their new Disney Jr. brand, which will replace the Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel in early 2011 and expand to a full channel in 2012.

Among the Disney Jr. shows underway: animated Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which features classic Disney characters (Captain Hook) mixed with new characters; animated Doc McStuffins, about a girl who heals broken toys; Little Princess, in which the title character learns to be a princess, in part via visits from famous princesses, after her mom marries into royalty; and Minnie Mouse, in which she and Daisy Duck run a hotel.

Among the other sneak peeks, Marsh also showed clips of an animated show for boy tween brand Disney XD called Motorcity, set in futuristic Detroit.

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