Twice a year, the Television Critics Association hosts a press event where channels and streamers present the latest programming news to the media, and yesterday it was all about Disney Branded TV at the TCA Winter Press Tour 2022.
Disney Branded TV includes the Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney+.
There was a lot of news released on both new and returning programming, so you’ll want to grab a snack and something to drink before you start reading.
Ready? Here is all the latest news on Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney+ series and movies:
AMERICAN BORN CHINESE
This new Disney+ series focuses on American teen Jin Wang (played by Ben Wang), whose parents immigrated from Taiwan. He is struggling to carve out exactly who he’s supposed to be, socially and culturally.
This is complicated by his aunt Guanyin (Michelle Yeoh), who is actually the all-powerful Buddhist bodhisattva of Compassion.
When Jin meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as he unwittingly is entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods.
The cast also includes Yeo Yann Yann, Chin Han, Daniel Wu, Ke Huy Quan (fun fact: as a child he starred as Data in “Goonies” and Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”), Jim Liu, and Sydney Taylor.
“Shang-Chi” director Destin Daniel Cretton will direct the pilot episode.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
We just reported on casting news for the upcoming Disney+ musical prequel series to the “Beauty and the Beast” movies, and yesterday it was announced that musician/actor Rita Ora will be joining the cast, too.
Ora will play a fugitive with surprising abilities who carries with her a secret that could potentially affect an entire kingdom.
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN
This Disney+ movie remake updates the story with Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff as the Bakers, a blended family with 10 kids. Scheduled to air March 18, 2022, a first trailer has been released:
Actor Daveed Diggs will narrate the new basketball drama series “The Crossover” for Disney+.
The series is based on Kwame Alexander’s novel about teen brothers Josh and JB Bell, sons of a former pro basketball player, who are stars of their school basketball team.
The cast of the series includes Jalyn Hall as Josh Bell, Amir O’Neil as JB Bell, Derek Luke as Chuck Bell, Sabrina Revelle as Crystal Bell, Skyla I’Lece as Alex, Deja Monique Cruz as Maya, and Trevor Raine Bush as Vondie.
NBA star LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Jamal Henderson of The SpringHill Company are executive producers for the show which starts production this month.
Disney Junior will celebrate the 10th anniversary of “Doc McStuffins” with episodes daily throughout the month of March, including a marathon on Wednesday, March 23, the anniversary of its premiere. All episodes are also available to stream on Disney+.
Walt Disney Records will join in the celebration with the debut of a new digital single, “The Doc is 10,” performed by Laya DeLeon Hayes, on Friday, March 18.
Disney Junior will also unveil a new 10th anniversary Doc McStuffins doll from its licensee Just Play.
Actress Brie Larson will produce this Disney+ docuseries that follows ten individuals ages 18-22 as they tell their stories. According to the press release each 30-minute episode will “represent a wide range of lived experiences, giving audiences emotionally powerful narratives that offer an engaging look at teenage-hood, and the diverse social, familial, and internal obstacles young people face on their path to self-discovery and acceptance.”
Larson will also direct an episode of “Growing Up” along with other episode directors Yara Shahidi, Sydney Freeland, Elegance Bratton, Ashley Eakin, Ekwa Msangi, Smriti Mundhra, Rudy Valdez, Bernardo Ruiz, Kishori Rajan and Nicole Galovski.
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR
The animated Marvel series “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” was first announced last December, but now we have character images for the Disney Channel show.
The show follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius Lunella Lafayette (voiced by Diamond White) and her 10-ton T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur (voiced by Fred Tatasciore).
After Lunella accidentally brings Devil Dinosaur into present-day New York City via a time vortex, the duo works together to protect the city’s Lower East Side from danger.
The series is based on the Marvel comic book series of the same name, which debuted November 2015, and is considered a direct sequel to the “Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur” comic series from Jack Kirby.
The Disney+ series based on the “National Treasure” movies has added actress Catherine Zeta-Jones to the cast.
She will play Billie, a “badass billionaire,” black-market antiquities expert, and treasure hunter who lives by her own code. She transformed herself from a penniless orphan into who she is now. She’s used to getting what she wants—and she wants the Pan-American treasure that series lead Jess is also after. But not just for the money. This treasure has deeper stakes for her.
THE NAUGHTY NINE
Disney Channel and Disney+ have put into development the holiday heist original movie “The Naughty Nine,” centered on fifth grader Andy, who has been a bit of a troublemaker this year.
When he doesn’t get any presents from Santa, he realizes he’s been put on the infamous “naughty list.” He feels that’s unfair, so pulls together a crack team of fellow “naughty listers” to execute an elaborate heist to get the presents he and the others feel they deserve.
The movie will be directed by Alberto Belli and written by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas. The cast includes Winslow Fegley, Camila Rodriguez, Anthony John Joo, Clara Stack, Imogen Cohen, Madilyn Kellam, and Deric McCable.
PAOLO SANTIAGO AND THE RIVER OF TEARS
Inspired by the legend of La Llorona, the story introduces a teenage Paola Santiago, who has always relied on hard science and logic to make sense of the world, unlike her mother, who believes in magic. However, folklore becomes fact when Paola’s best friend goes missing, and to save her, Paola has to enter a world of mind-bending monsters and relentless spirits steeped in Latin folklore.
Based on a novel by Tehlor Kay Mejia, this new live-action series has received a development order from Disney+. It’s produced by actress Eva Longoria and Ben Spector for UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, along with Mejia. Disney-Hyperion, under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, published the book.
THE PROM PACT
Peyton Elizabeth Lee (“Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.“) and Milo Manheim (“Zombies”) will star in this teen rom-com movie for Disney+.
High school senior Mandy Coleman (Lee) and her best friend and fellow outsider Ben (Manheim) are surrounded by over-the-top ’80s-themed Promposals. However, Mandy keeps her eyes focused on a different goal: her lifelong dream of attending Harvard.
When she finds out her acceptance has been deferred, she is determined to do whatever she can do to get herself off the waitlist, even if that means asking for help from the one person she abhors – popular all-star jock Graham Lansing, whose father is a powerful senator and Harvard alum.
Once Mandy becomes Graham’s tutor, she begins to realize there’s more to him than she thought and perhaps something more to life than Harvard.
The movie will be produced by actress Julie Bowen and her producing partner Rachel Field, along with executive producers Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar.
Actor Jeremy Renner is executive producing this four-part reality series for Disney+ that will follow him as he travels to world to help communities by, as the press release states, “reimagining unique purpose-built vehicles.”
The release continues, “He is heavily invested in the highly creative fabricator culture that exists across the globe and hopes to change lives with these skills and inspire others to do the same.”
SECRETS OF SULPHUR SPRINGS
“Secrets of Sulphur Springs” may be in the middle of its second season, but yesterday the announcement was made the series was renewed for a third season at the Disney Channel.
Where are my Judy Blume fans? It was annouced that an animated series based on the “Superfudge” book is in development for Disney+.
The story centers on twelve-year-old Peter Hatcher who’s world is upended when his 3-year-old brother Farley Drexel, aka “Fudge,” runs away under his watch, resulting in an epic family adventure across New York City.
Joe and Anthony Russo (aka The Russo Brothers) are producing the show.
In development for Disney Junior, this animated show for kids aged 2-7, features two girls: an adventurous city kid named Tilly, and the more risk-averse Birdie, who befriends Tilly when Tilly’s family moves to a campground while her scientist mom is doing field research on forest streams.
As the girls observe their mother’s careers and interests and begin to explore and discover the magic of nature all around them, they develop a supportive friendship and a deep understanding of and appreciation for the natural world, including the importance of environmental conservation and wildlife protection. Partners from National Geographic are consulting on the project.
Actress Reese Witherspoon is not only producing with her Hello Sunshine company, but will voice one of the mom characters, Fern, who is a wildlife specialist.
UNDER WRAPS 2
The Disney Channel has greenlit a sequel to the 2021 remake of the first Disney Channel Original Movie of the same name, called “Under Wraps 2.”
The sequel will pick up as Amy is preparing for her father’s Spooktacular Halloween-themed wedding to his fiancé Carl. However, plans soon go awry when Amy, Gilbert, and Marshall discover that their mummy friend Harold, and his beloved Rose, may be in danger. Sobek, an evil mummy with a thousand-year-old grudge against his best friend-turned-bitter rival Harold, is unexpectedly awakened and out for revenge.
Stars Malachi Barton, Christian J. Simon, Sophia Hammons, Phil Wright will return, with new cast members Melanie Brook, T.J. Storm, Rryla McIntosh, Jordan Conley, and Adam Wylie.
Are any of the shows or movies of interest to you or your family? Let us know which ones you’ll be watching!