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Disney Junior Programming to Launch in February

Roll-out will introduce viewers to content for latest Disney-ABC kids channel set to replace SoapNet in 2012.

PASADENA -- Disney Junior programming will launch Feb. 14 on Disney Channel. The announcement lays the groundwork for the launch of a standalone Disney Junior channel, which is targeted to replace SoapNet in 2012.

The Disney Junior block will be anchored by new animated series Jake and the Never Land Pirates and will include five additional new series. There are three short-form series: Mickey Mousekersize and Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps (both of which supporting Disney's "Magic of Healthy Living" initiative) and A Poem Is... (narrated by Jennifer Garner and Katie Holmes, among others). Full-length series are: Babar and the Adventures of Badou and Tinga Tinga Tales.

Disney Junior targets children ages 2-7 and will compete in a crowded field that already includes Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, PBS Kids Sprout and the recently launched Hasbro/Discovery joint venture The Hub.

“Disney Junior will be an entry point into the world of Disney for young kids, creating a world – online and on-air – that captures the magic of Disney and its classic heartfelt storytelling and timeless characters beloved by generations,” Gary Marsh, president of entertainment and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, said in a statement.

The Disney Junior programming block, which will run weekdays (4:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.) and weekends (4:00–9:00 a.m.) will introduce the new channel’s programming to Disney Channel’s 99 million homes. In 2012, Disney Junior will debut as a 24-hour basic cable and satellite channel.