Channel to launch Feb. 13

HOLLYWOOD — In the competitive race to dominate the boys 6-14 market, consider Cartoon Network the “bad boy,” Nickelodeon the “class clown” and the soon-to-launch Disney XD channel “your teammate.”

This description comes courtesy of Disney Channels Worldwide entertainment prexy Gary Marsh, who spoke at a Friday-morning breakfast panel at the TV Critics Assn. confab in Universal City.

The new XD channel, which launches Feb. 13, will feature a broad spectrum of live-action, boy-targeted programming with “empowering and unifying themes,” Marsh said, adding that Disney is aiming for a concurrent launch of an XD broadband component emphasizing gaming and an online community.

Previewing for TV journalists Friday the new series “Aaron Stone”— a show that stars Kelly Blatz and is one of a number of adventure and sports-themed series premiering on the new network at launch — Marsh said the channel will primarily go after pre-teen boys but will also have plenty of “entry points” for girls.

Marsh added that Disney’s cable-operator partners have had no issues with the conglom getting rid of Toon Disney last year to make way for XD.

“Disney XD will still have plenty of animation,” he noted, “and Toon Disney was a fourth-place network in a competitive race.”

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