Disney Junior Creates Network Advisory Board

Disney Junior has tapped several experts in the fields of transmedia, storytelling, early education, language
development, diversity, emotional learning, digital trends and literacy for its newly formed council of academic advisors, the network announced Monday.

The advisors will help guide the learning and development curriculum for Disney Junior, which on March 23 will launch its 24-hour channel targeted to kids aged 2-7, said Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide.

 "We are thrilled to have assembled this prominent group of leading academics, the best in their fields, who will share with us their research, innovation, trends and knowledge in childhood education," Kanter said. "Storytelling and character engagement is the key component in Disney Junior programming, and emerging technological advancements allow us to extend the television experience and deepen our viewers' engagement via a multitude of platforms. Our advisory board will offer valuable insight into how we can best translate our series from television to online, games, apps and other extension experiences."

New advisory members include Kevin Clark, Ph.D., the Founder and Director of George Mason University's Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity; Drew Davidson, Director of the Entertainment Technology Center - Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University and Editor of ETC Press; Ines Dussell, Educational Director of Sangari Argentina; Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Director of the Infant Language Laboratory at Temple University; Henry Jenkins, a leading expert in the field of transmedia; Linda Labbo, Professor Emerita in the Department of Reading Education at the University of Georgia; Robert L. Selman, Harvard Medical School's Roy Edward Larsen Professor of Education and Human Development Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry Department; Catherine Snow, the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education; Maria Tatar, chair of Harvard University's program in Folklore and Mythology; and Yuuko Uchikoshi, an expert in the field of bilingual education, language development and socialization and literacy development.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.