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Disney scouts for more local ideas after UK deals

Having optioned two UK-produced shows this week, Disney has outlined ambitious plans for its Global Original Programming Division. Steve Aranguren, vice president, global original programming, said it is close to sealing an option on another show and that he hopes to have two UK programmes in production in 2008 and on-air the year after.

Aranguren told TBIvision that he and his team had heard hundreds of pitches before optioning The Shaila Show (WT) and Clever Clogs from Coolabi and Blue-Zoo respectively. But the division still wants to hear from producers and is scouting for long-form animation properties. The aim is to get two shows a year underway until 2009 and more thereafter.

"We are open for business and still hearing pitches, we’re trying to option another property at the moment and looking for something for 2010," he says. "The Disney channel has a strong brand and the key is that ideas connect with that tween audience. We talk about the three C’s; it has to be comedic, have a connection and a lot of our stuff is character driven.

Aranguren’s division will option and help develop shows before Gary Marsh, president, Disney Channel Worldwide, and John Hardie, executive VP and MD, Disney Channel EMEA decide whether to give the full go ahead.

Aranguren says his main goal is to make sure these shows work in their local and regional markets although he hopes they can then travel to the Disney Channel in the US.

The local production push extends beyond Europe. There are several Indian projects including Vicky and Vetal and there is also a Chinese show developed with Shanghai Animation Film Studios called Robbers from Planet Plasticine. This follows Playhouse Disney’s moves into original production with Baker Coogan produced preschool puppet series Bunnytown.