You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Junior Readies ‘Sofia the First’ Spinoff

Sofia the First” is getting a second — sort of.

Disney Junior is preparing to launch “Elena of Avalor,” featuring a teenaged Latina princess who has been trapped for decades in the signature jeweled amulet that is one of the best-known elements of the current kiddie series. The character of Elena will debut in a special episode of “Sofia the First” that is beginning production now and set to air in 2016. She will then be the center of the new series, produced by Disney Television Animation and slated to debut in the same year.

“What excites us most is the chance to use distinctive animation and visual design to tell wonderful stories influenced by culture and traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families and reflect the interests and aspirations of all children as told through a classic fairy tale,” said Nancy Kanter, executive vice president and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, in a prepared statement.

“Sofia” has emerged as one of the pillars of the Disney Junior schedule, and serves to burnish the company’s many “Princess” characters and the storytelling behind them. Cinderella, Mulan, Ariel from”The Little Mermaid” and Rapunzel from “Tangled” have all made appearances in “Sofia,” which tells the story of a young girl whose mother marries the king, leaving her to navigate a new milieu and family. The series debuted in 2012.

According to the network, “Sofia the First” has delivered the two highest-rated telecasts in cable TV history among kids between 2 and 5 years of age as well as girls between 2 and 5, in addition to the second-highest rated cable-TV telecast ever in total viewers, adults 18-49 and women 18-49.

“Elena” will do battle, of sorts,  as parent Walt Disney seeks to push forward Disney Junior in an increasingly competitive market for TV’s littlest viewers. The company launched Disney Junior in 2011 on the back of a block of kiddie viewing that ran under the same name on its flagship Disney Channel. Disney Junior, born out of the now-defunct SoapNet, competes with outlets like Nick Jr., part of the massive Viacom-owned Nickelodeon franchise; Sprout, the network aimed at preschoolers recently taken over by NBCUniversal; and PBS Kids, the daytime block of educational programming for kids that airs on PBS. Nontraditional entrants are also shaking up the space. Streaming-video outlets like Amazon and Netflix are producing series for kids.

The role of 16 year-old Princess Elena will be voiced by Aimee Carrero, who has appeared in the ABC Family series “Young & Hungry.” Carrero is represented by Innovative Artists, 3 Arts Entertainment and the law firm Skrzyniarz & Mallean.

In the series, Sofia discovers how Princess Elena was trapped inside the amulet and sets about to help Elena regain her human form and return to the kingdom of Avalor. Elena was trapped in the jewel after trying to protect her little sister and grandparents from   Shuriki, an evil sorceress. The 16-year-old character will rule Avalor with help from characters like  Grandfather Tito, Grandmother Cici and  Duke Esteban, a royal adviser. She will also have friends: Mateo, a wizard-in-training, and Skylar, a magical flying creature.

“Elena of Avalor” is exec produced by Craig Gerber,  creator of “Sofia the First.” Silvia Cardenas Olivas, an alumna of the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Television Writers Program, is the story editor, and Elliot M. Bour is the supervising director. The series’ cultural advisers are Doris Sommer, Harvard University professor and director of graduate studies in Spanish, and Marcela Davison Aviles, managing director and executive producer, El Camino Project, an international Latino arts initiative.




More TV

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

  • Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million

    Mueller Report Release Draws 11 Million Total Viewers Across TV News

    Coverage of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice unsurprisingly caused a ratings bump across TV news yesterday. In terms of overall viewership, around 11 million people tuned in to see Attorney General William Barr’s news conference regarding the report’s release, and the news coverage surrounding it. According [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    WarnerMedia Pulls Out of Audience-Targeting Alliance Open A.P.

    WarnerMedia is going its own way when it comes to helping advertisers find specific groups of TV-watchers. The company, a founding member of the audience-targeting media alliance known as Open A.P., said Friday it would withdraw from the group, citing its desire to pursue its own strategy under owner AT&T. AT&T purchased Time Warner in [...]

  • BLESS THIS MESS - "The Chicken

    Listen: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard on Returning to Broadcast TV With 'Bless This Mess'

    Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s installment, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Daniel Holloway, chats with Lake Bell and Dax Shepard, stars of ABC’s “Bless This Mess,” which debuted on Monday. The show centers around a newly married couple, played by Bell and Shepard, who decide to ditch their shoebox New York City [...]

  • superstore renewed season 3

    'Superstore' Showrunner Justin Spitzer Steps Down as He, Gabe Miller, Jonathan Green Renew Overall Deals at UTV

    “Superstore” executive producers Justin Spitzer, Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green have all renewed their overall deals with Universal Television. In addition, Miller and Green will take over showrunner duties on “Superstore” while Spitzer — who also created the series — will shift to develop new projects for the studio beginning with the 2019-2020 season. “I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content