DISNEY JUNIOR LAUNCHES MAY 6 WITH NEW PROGRAMS AND A NOD TO CLASSIC DISNEY CHARACTERS AND MAGIC

NEW BRAND SETS SAIL WITH JAKE AND THE NEVER LAND PIRATES

TORONTO, March 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Astral (TSX : ACM.A/ACM.B) today announced that Playhouse Disney will transform to become Disney Junior on May 6. Continuing its mandate to broadcast the best in entertaining and learning-focused programming for younger viewers, Disney Junior will showcase heartfelt stories that include classic and contemporary Disney characters with learning and development themes.  The French-language counterpart of the network, Playhouse Disney Télé, will also change to Disney Junior on May 6.

"The transformation to Disney Junior and the launch of new programming such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates marks an exciting time for the channel," said Joe Tedesco, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Family and Playhouse Disney. "Featuring recognizable characters and learning components, Disney Junior will showcase the Disney essence, characters and storytelling that we all love. The new brand and its programming strike the perfect balance between classic and contemporary to offer a unique viewing experience that families will delight in."

The new Disney Junior brand will showcase beloved Disney characters not only in its programming, but also in the inventive and dynamic Disney Junior logo which transforms to embody Disney characters in an imaginative way. Interstitials will have a strong presence of real live action children interacting with Disney Junior characters. These customized logos and on-air elements reinforce the emotional connection multiple generations have to Disney and its celebrated characters and storytelling. 

An anchor to the new Disney Junior brand and an example of Disney Junior's approach to bring the classic and the contemporary together, is the new animated show Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Gathering inspiration from Peter Pan, this new series is a music-filled interactive treasure hunt that introduces a crew of kid pirates, on their Never Land adventures as they work to outwit the infamous Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. The series features the voice talents of Colin Ford (Supernatural) as Jake, Madison Pettis (The Game Plan) as Izzy, Jonathan Morgan Heit as Cubby, Corey Burton as Captain Hook and David Arquette (Never Been Kissed) as Skully. The recurring voice cast includes: Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills, 90210) as the Pirate Princess, musician Lisa Loeb as Winger, Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Marina the Mermaid and Adam West as the Wise Old Parrot.

Joining Jake and the Never Land Pirates on Disney Junior are new short-form series including A Poem Is… featuring clips from treasured Disney animation to illustrate poems narrated by Jennifer Garner and Katie Holmes among other familiar voices. Also joining the schedule, Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps, encourages healthy lifestyles for preschoolers. Canadian original series that will be featured on Disney Junior include Franny's Feet, The Secret World of Benjamin Bear and the recently debuted Stella and Sam.

Disney Junior is a commercial-free channel available in French and English to subscribers across Canada. Committed to offering the best in engaging and development-based programming for younger children, Disney Junior showcases series with a focus on imaginative storytelling. Presenting exclusive, first-run programs from Disney together with celebrated Canadian series, Disney Junior is also available through Disney Junior OnDemand and Disney Junior OnLine.

Disney Junior is a member of the Astral family. Astral Media Inc. (TSX : ACM.A/ACM.B) is one of Canada's largest media companies. It operates several of the country's most popular pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home advertising and interactive media properties. Astral plays a central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and advertisers. To learn more about Astral, visit astral.com.


For further information:

For artwork and series information, visit http://tv.astral.com
For additional information contact:
Jaime Werby at 416-956-8547 or jwerby@astral.com
Kate Dickson at 416-956-8584 or kdickson@astral.com