The Disney Channel is retiring its longtime preschool-oriented "Playhouse Disney" programming block in favor of "Disney Junior," a new name that brings with it an emphasis on programming that highlights social values, rather than teaching academics, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The article notes that with iPads and video games increasingly becoming learning tools for children, Disney Junior aims to help children become emotionally strong through old-fashioned storytelling. Executives at Disney also hope the new focus will help boost the network’s younger audience, a target demo in which the channel still falls short of its competitors.
Monday is the official debut of Disney Junior, which will air a daily 10-hour block of preschool programming on the Disney Channel. But by 2012, Disney wants to expand the block to a 24-hour cable channel that will replace Disney’s low-rated SOAPnet network, the article notes.
New series include "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," which features Captain Hook, who is still a bad guy but nevertheless gets invited to play by Jake and his band of boy outlaws, and "Tinga Tinga Tales," an animated show based on African animal folktales, the story notes.