The second month of 2008 won’t be February in the Disney Channel universe, it will be “Ferb-ruary.”
That’s when the company is putting full promotional support behind a new animated series, scheduling episodes of Phineas and Ferb on 27 Disney Channel outlets around the world, every night of the month at 8 p.m.
Gary Marsh, president of entertainment of Disney Worldwide, is very high on Phineas & Ferb. He thinks the series will do for the cable networks in animation what such fare as High School Musical has done for Disney on the live-action front.
The two-dimensional animation series is the brainchild of Dan Povenmire (Family Guy) and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (The Simpsons).
The setup: the two step-brothers of the title set out to make each day of summer vacation the best day ever, causing exasperation to their older sister, because the pair always manages to clean up their messes before Mom and Dad can see them. One such adventure: the boys build a backyard beach, complete with surfing competition.
The boys also have a pet platypus that also happens to be a secret agent and has its own set of adventures.
Episodes will include original music, but not because of the success of the High School Musical franchise. Marsh said the producers pitched the show with a great original song, so producers told them to continue composing.
Povenmire, Jeff Marsh and other writers craft the lyrics, then sing the ditty into the answering machine of the show’s professional composer, Danny Jacob, on a Friday night. By Monday, it’s a fully crafted number, they said.
Sixty songs have been composed to date, which Marsh said he hopes the company’s music division will publish as a CD.
The launch stunt will cause some juggling. Only 26 episodes of the series have been ordered; they’ll be shown every day in a 29-day month.
Though a second season has not been ordered, the producers continue writing stories to “keep the storyboarders around,” they said.
Meredith Roberts, senior vice president of creative affairs at Walt Disney Television Animation, said the company is actively building Web games to accompany the series. They will be based on different but complementary storylines to the series, so fans can explore their favorite character’s animated world.
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