The “circle of life” continues at Walt Disney’s kids’ networks, as “The Lion Guard,” the animated extension of the company’s 1994 “Lion King” franchise, has gotten a nod for a second season, along with “Goldie & Bear,”a modern, animated take on old fairy tales.
Disney Junior, the cable network aimed at pre-schoolers, has ordered two new original series. “Vampirina,” and “Puppy Dog Tails.”
The programming decisions come as most kids’ networks gear up for the TV-industry’s annual “upfront” market, when they try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming season. Disney will vie with everyone from Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Time Warner’s Cartoon Network to NBCUniversal’s Sprout and Discovery Communications’ Discovery Family Channel for appoximately $800 million in advance ad commitments from toy-makers, movie studios and other Madison Avenue residents seeking to entice kids and their parents to part with hard-earned income.
“Vampirina” is inspired by Disney Publishing’s popular children’s book series “Vampirina Ballerina,” and tells the story of a young vampire girl who becomesthe new kid in town when her family moves from Transylvania to Pennsylvania. The show will be led by many of the exectuives behind “Doc McStuffins,” the hit Disney preschool series led by executive producer Chris Nee and co-executive producer Norton Virgien. Nicky Phelan will direct the series, and animation studio Brown Bag Films is producing in association with Disney Junior.
“Puppy Dog Tails” is created by comedian and actor Harland Williams, and tells the story of two fun-loving pug puppies, Bingo and Rolly and their thrill-seeking adventures. Williams serves as consulting producer with Sean Coyle as executive producer and Dean Batali as story editor. The series is a production of Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior.
Disney said “The Lion Guard” series premiered in January 2016 and, for the second consecutive month, ranked as the number-one series across preschooler networks in total viewers and preschoolers between 2 and 5. The company said “Goldie & Bear” was 2015’s #1 series across preschool networks.