Dis rocks with preschool 'Movers'

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Disney Channel has given a series pickup to "Imagination Movers," a show for the preschool-targeted "Playhouse Disney" daily programming block that stars the New Orleans-based music group of the same name.

In addition, the group, whose music videos have been airing on Disney Channel since the fall, has signed with Walt Disney Records.

"Movers," which will include music performances, stories and skits, is intended to emphasize creative problem-solving skills and introduce "high-energy" rock music to kids. It will feature the band members as "everyday guy" brain-stormers working hard to solve "idea emergencies."

The band comprises former journalist Rich Collins, former teacher Scott Durbin, architect Dave Poche and Scott "Smitty" Smith, a New Orleans firefighter who was a member of the Hurricane Katrina search-and-rescue team. Three of the band members lost their homes, production office, instruments and props to Katrina.

The series, which begins production at the NIMS Center in New Orleans in early October, is targeted for a 2008 premiere.

"After seeing the musical group perform at Jazzfest 2005 in New Orleans, we were determined to find a way to bring their energetic and infectious music to preschoolers everywhere," Disney Channel senior vp original programming Nancy Kanter said. "They have already struck a resounding chord with our viewers through their music videos, and we look forward to adding this talented group to our series lineup."

Skot Bright and Sascha Penn are executive producers on the series. The band members are co-executive producing with Rick Gitelson.

In October, Walt Disney Records will release a "definitive introduction" to the Movers with a collection of songs titled "Juicebox Heroes," culled from the group's three albums. A new studio album will follow next year that will feature original songs from the series. The group is on tour.
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