Disney preps Marvel block for XD

Disney is developing a block of Marvel programming for its boy-skewed cable channel Disney XD.

Disney bought Marvel for US$4.2 billion late last year and is now working up original programming based on Marvel IP and will launch a branded block on the Disney XD channel, which was formerly known as Jetix.

 “We’re developing a Marvel block of television programming for Disney XD, and we have two series in production and/or development,” Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors and analysts in the wake of the company’s second quarter 2010 financial results. “We hope that, that will expand significantly over the next few years. So we think we have a big opportunity in terms of television.”

Iger did not say which Marvel properties were being developed for XD, but ahead of the Disney deal Marvel was preparing animated series including The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which features Captain America and Giant Man among others and Thor, based on the thunder god of Norse mythology.

“We are already licensing Marvel product for the channel and we’re stepping up that activity both as a means of growing ratings for the channel, and thus growing advertising and distribution, but also as a means of helping to use the channel to strengthen the Marvel brand and to put a real spotlight on it,” Iger said.

Marvel handled its own programme sales before being acquired by Disney and inked output deals with M6 in France, Teletoon in Canada and Cartoon Network Asia.