Disney Nets Bolster ‘Jetix’ Block

Pleased with early viewer returns, ABC Cable Networks will premiere several new kids-themed shows for its boy-friendly "Jetix" programming block and Disney Channel is fortifying its original lineup with three new series.

Jetix -- which airs daily in primetime on Toon Disney and mornings on ABC Family -- will add a trio of new shows this fall: animated action/adventure series Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, computer-animated Dragon Booster and W.I.T.C.H., a live-action series based on Disney Publishing’s European comic magazine, ABC Kids and Toon Disney senior vice president and general manager Johnathan Barzilay said.

Next fall, Toon Disney also plans to expand its two-month-old Jetix block to 19 hours per week from 12 hours.

ABC Family airs a two-hour block of Jetix-branded fare weekday mornings and a four-hour block Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Jetix -- offering such fare as Disney’s The Legend of Tarzan and Power Rangers DinoThunder -- has posted viewership gains against prior four-week averages, ABC executives said.

Jetix shows generated a 31% gain among viewers 2 and older; a 25% gain in household ratings; a 33% gain among kids 2-11; a 36% gain among boys 2-11; and a 56% gain among boys 6-11.

Toon Disney also will strip Disney Channel’s popular animated The Proud Family next season in primetime, Barzilay said.

And Disney Channel will add three new series this summer. Phil of the Future, a live-action comedy with Ricky Ullman (Disney’s Pixel Perfect), debuts in June. Animated comedy Disney’s Brandy & Mr. Whiskers starts in August, Disney Channel president of entertainment Rich Ross said.

Also debuting on Disney Channel this year: Disney’s American Dragon: Jake Long, an animated comedy about an Asian-American boy with mystical powers.

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.