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Disney Gears Up for Kids Upfront Event

Disney’s Kids Upfront event on Tuesday at Gotham’s Hudson Theater could well be a victory lap as the mothership Disney Channel reigns in the kidvid realm as the No. 1 net among tykes 2-11 and 6-11.

The Mouse House comes to Madison Avenue in search of sponsor partnerships for Disney Channel, which still does not carry traditional blurbs but opts for “select sponsorships.” The same is true for the fledgling Disney Jr. cabler aimed at the pre-K set. The boy-centric Disney XD is fully ad-supported.

Even with the recent departure of signature series such as “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “Hannah Montana,” Disney Channel maintains a tight grip on kids and preteens with its series and telepics. Animated smash “Phineas and Ferb” and the live-action “Good Luck Charlie” remain pillars of the sked.

In 2012, Disney Channel was TV’s No. 1 network in total day for the first time among kids 2-11 and for the second consecutive year in kids 6-11. And it’s carrying that success into the new year, ruling as the top place for kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14.

“Austin & Ally” is TV’s No. 1 series 2013 to date in kids 2-11, while “Phineas & Ferb” is No. 1 among animated series with kids 2-11, 6-11 and 9-14.

Among the anticipated offerings for the coming year is “Girl Meets World,” the live-action sequel series to the 1990s ABC sitcom “Boy Meets World.” The Mouse will also give a big push to rising tween star Dove Cameron, with the telepic “Cloud 9” and series “Liv and Maddie” coming in the fall.

Disney XD is coming off a year of ratings gains, thanks in part to live-action laffers including “Crash and Bernstein” (whose puppet star will make an appearance with Disney Channel Worldwide topper Gary Marsh on stage at the Hudson), “Lab Rats” and “Kickin’ It,” along with Marvel toon series. Disney XD is ramping up its Marvel presence even more this year with new series “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” and “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,” slated to debut on July 7 and Aug. 11, respectively.

In 2012, Disney XD delivered its most-watched year in the network’s history in both total day and primetime in all kid demographics plus total viewers.

Meanwhile, the Disney Junior channel marks its first birthday this month. The channel is celebrating its first home-grown hit, the animated “Sofia the First.” The extension of Disney Jr. to a standalone net is part of Disney’s cradie-to-college strategy of ensuring strong exposure among kids and teens for key properties across the Disney-branded cablers and offshoots such as the Radio Disney music service.

Dominant as the Mouse House nets are, they still faces competition for boy viewers from Cartoon Network and for teens from Nickelodeon. At its upfront event last month, Nickelodeon execs unveiled a big “hit the reset button” push in an effort to reverse its recent ratings slide.

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