Disney orders ‘Ariel’ pre-school series inspired by ‘The Little Mermaid’, among branded & EMEA originals

Disney Junior’s Ariel

Disney Branded Television and Disney EMEA have unveiled four new animated shows in the works for Disney channels and streamer Disney+, including Disney Junior’s Ariel, a new series inspired by movie classic The Little Mermaid.

Taking to the stage at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival yesterday evening, Orion Ross, VP of animation for Disney EMEA, and Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, announced the new shows, as well as recommissions and updates on projects currently in the works.

Centre of Davis’s presentation at Disney’s The Next 100 session was Disney Junior’s Ariel, an animated musical series for pre-schoolers from Wild Canary, in association with Disney Junior, which will follow eight-year-old mermaid princess Ariel and her friends on a series of underwater adventures.

The series is set to launch in 2024 and will feature the return of characters including King Triton, Ursula, Sebastian and Flounder, alongside new additions such as mer-children Lucia and Fernie.

Executive producer Lynne Southerland joined Davis on stage for a brief interview in which she shared a few details about the series and how The Little Mermaid had been retooled for a younger audience, including making movie villain Ursula in to a “beloved aunt” to Ariel.

Also upcoming from Disney Branded Television is StuGo, an original animated series about six overambitious middle schoolers who are tricked into attending a fake academic summer camp by a mad scientist. Now they’re stuck for three months on a wild tropical island with mind-reading manatees, giant fighting fungi and fashion-forward mutants. Hailing from Titmouse, in association with Disney Channel, the series was created by Ryan Gillis, with Sunil Hall co-exec producing.

Davis also shared several renewals, with Marvel’s Spidey And His Amazing Friends back for a fourth season, third seasons of Firebuds and The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, as well as a second season of Kiff.


European originals

Ross, meanwhile, unveiled pre-school adventure Magicampers as a new original series from Disney EMEA, set to debut on Disney+ and Disney Junior next year.

Produced by Mikros Animation and created by Obie Scott Wade, the series follows the adventures of best friends Darly and Loomis at a day camp for magical creatures on a fantastical island. Darly is half-pig and half-Pegasus, Loomis is half-donkey and half-unicorn, and their young friends are also mythical mashups of all stripes.

Mrs America and Orange Is The New Black star Uzo Aduba was announced as joining the voice cast as nature spirit and camp leader Treena.

Ross also announced The Sunnyridge 3, an original comedy-mystery series about a trio of lifelong best friends who investigate strange goings-on in a uniquely bizarre shopping center on the fringes of suburban London. The series hails from UK. animation studio Blink Industries, and creators Stevie Gee and Essy May, in association with global entertainment company Boat Rocker.

Renewed Disney EMEA titles, meanwhile, included Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life, Kiya & The Kimoja Heroes, which will return for a second season, while “several more seasons” and a special for Miraculous: Tales Of Ladybug & Cat Noir are in development.

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