Disney Junior replacing Playhouse in the UK

Disney’s new channel, Disney Junior, will launch in the UK tomorrow before starting to roll out across the rest of EMEA region.

The channel will be programmed with shows featuring well-known Disney characters and some original UK-originated content, including a new version of classic live-action arts and crafts series Art Attack.

“With the heritage content, there’s a great opportunity for parents to share their own memories of characters and stories with their kids, and that’s not the case for the other international kids [TV channel] brands,” Boel Ferguson, VP and general manager, Disney Channels UK and Ireland, told TBIvision. “The goal is always to be number one – nothing else is satisfactory,” she added.

Disney Junior replaces Playhouse Disney, which launched as a block in the US in 1997 and in 1999 in the UK and now reaches 109 countries. Disney said last year it is rebranding the Playhouse channels Disney Junior. It targets 2-to-7 year-olds.

Beth Gardiner, Disney’s VP, original programming, at the channel told TBIvision that it will have an even boy/girl viewing split and that it will be ‘faster and more energetic’ than its predecessor.

Disney’s in-house produced 26x22mins version of Art Attack debuts May 6. The show originally aired on UK free-to-air broadcaster ITV’s kids service, CiTV, between 1990 and 2007. Disney has global rights to the new version and will launch it on its Disney Junior and Playhouse channels around the world.

Other programming on Disney Junior includes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and new show Jake and the Never Land Pirate. There will also be a second season of UK-originated CGI series Jungle Junction.