×

Disney’s ‘Goldie & Bear’ Mixes Fairy Tales With Digital Distribution

Walt Disney wants to put a modern twist on classic fairy tales, and not just in the way they are depicted on the TV screen.

When the company’s Disney Junior cable network launches “Goldie & Bear,” an updated take on everything from “The Three Bears” to “Jack and the Beanstalk,” it will do so by making the series available on September 12 via its Watch Disney Junior streaming-video mobile app to users who subscribe to the cable network, and then on TV about two months later, creating a vehicle that blends a taste of the Brothers Grimm with video-on-demand.

“We are trying to keep these classic stories, and classic characters, in kids’ minds,” said Nancy Kanter, executive vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide. With school systems placing more emphasis on math, science and analysis of documents, perhaps there’s less room for Tom Thumb and Hansel and Gretel? “We thought it was really important that kids still had a touchstone to these time-honored tales,” she added.

Each episode of the new program, which will debut on Disney Junior in November, includes two 11-minute stories that show Goldie and Bear — reunited after an infamous “porridge incident” — in the midst of escapades with their neighbors in Fairy Tale Forest, all of whom have roots in familiar storybook figures. The protagonists might help Jack and Jill get up a hill or ask the Big Bad Wolf to consider others’ feelings before blowing down the houses of those who reside within.

Walt Disney has reason to support the fairy-tale business. Much of the company’s famous, revenue-generating intellectual property has its roots in time-told tales of princesses and kings and young people gaining knowledge from woodland creatures. The company has a pipeline of live-action movies based on characters found in its treasury of animated fairy-tale classics: 2014’s “Maleficent” is based on 1959’s “Sleeping Beauty,” for example. The Disney Junior series “Sofia the First” makes regular use of various princesses from Disney’s stock of animated classics.

The tales “are deceptively simple and deeply complicated,” and, as such, are durable, explained Harvard professor Maria Tatar, a specialist in children’s literature and a member of the board of advisers for Disney Junior.

Disney Junior has released new series digitally in the past, and found itself rewarded for the effort, said Paul DeBenedittis, senior VP of programming strategy for Disney Channels Worldwide. When “Sherriff Callie’s Wild West” launched on Disney Junior in 2014, the company made episodes available for digital consumption first. The company found that “Callie” had one of the best premieres on the network, even with episodes available ahead of time, he said. “Miles From Tomorrowland,” a series that debuted on the network in 2015, was preceded by a group of digital shorts made available beforehand, DeBenedittis said.

Making the shows available for mobile and on-demand consumption allows kids to “engage multiple times early on,” he explained, “which is really important to launching a show.” The company will also roll out more than 20 “microgames” throughout the fall. Each will focus on a classic fairy tale or nursery rhyme character.

Six episodes will be made available for digital viewing. Eagle-eyed parents who watch with their kids may spot Humpty Dumpty, Mama Bear and the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon, among others, as the programs unspool.

More TV

  • Asa Butterfield in Netflix's Sex Education

    Netflix & Sky Strike Multi-Year Deal To Keep Streamer On Service

    Comcast-owned pay-TV operator Sky and Netflix have hammered out a new multi-year deal to keep content from the streaming giant on the service.  Under the new deal, customers of Sky’s set-top box service Sky Q will have the option to opt in for Netflix’s basic plan, which is priced locally at £5.99 ($7.99) per month. [...]

  • Paradigm Agency Cuts 30 Staff Positions,

    Paradigm Agency Cuts 30 Staff Positions, Mostly in Music

    Paradigm has made a significant cut to its staff, laying off about 30 agents and support staff or 4% of its employees, Variety has confirmed. Sources said most of the layoffs were in the music area at the agency and took place Friday.. Paradigm, which had about 700 employees prior to the layoffs, had no [...]

  • Edward Burns'Alex Cross' film premiere, Los

    Edward Burns Dramedy, Blumhouse TV Docuseries in Development at Epix

    Epix is eyeing some potential new additions on both the scripted and unscripted front. Network president Michael Wright unveiled Epix’s development slate, which includes two scripted projects and three prospective docuseries, at its Television Critics’ Association winter press tour day. One of the two scripted series hails from Edward Burns who is best known for [...]

  • Kim Kardashian WestFashion Group International's Night

    Kim Kardashian West 'Goes to War' on Mass Incarceration in Documentary Trailer (Watch)

    Kim Kardashian West is going to war on mass incarceration. Oxygen has released the trailer for her documentary “Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project,” which sees the media personality declare that “there is a mass incarceration problem in the United States.” The two-hour documentary, premiering Sunday, April 5, captures Kardashian West as she explores the [...]

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of

    Harry and Meghan Will Give Up Royal Titles, Repay U.K. for House Renovation

    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will lose their royal titles of “His Royal Highness” or “Her Royal Highness,” when they step back as senior members of the United Kingdom’s royal family, according to a new statement from Queen Elizabeth and Buckingham Palace. However, the duo will maintain the moniker of Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The [...]

  • Grey's Anatomy deaths

    The Top 13 ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Deaths Ranked

    If there’s anyone that knows how to deliver a heart-wrenching death scene, it’s the team behind ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Created by Shonda Rhimes, the broadcast medical drama came out of the gate in 2005 with literal life and death stakes for its characters. Being set in a hospital meant that mortality was a constant theme [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    'Surviving Jeffrey Epstein' Docuseries Gets Greenlight at Lifetime

    Lifetime has officially ordered the four-hour documentary series “Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.” The announcement was made at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday. The series was originally announced as in development last summer and is expected to air this summer on Lifetime. Hailing from Emmy-winner Robert Friedman’s Bungalow Media + Entertainment, Anne Sundberg [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content