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Disney Channel Talent Search In The UK

Disney wants to find the “next Zac Efron” in the UK, with plans to produce shows in the vein of High School Musical and Hannah Montana that target boys.

Jonathan Bosely, vice president of programming, Disney UK and Ireland, told delegates at the Showcomotion conference in Sheffield, England that he is seeking UK - produced international formats for the new Disney XD channel, including entertainment series focused on music and sports.

“It’s about aspirational characters, great stories and a sense of achievement. What is the High School Musical for boys? The Hannah Montana? These are the things we’re really interested in – supercharged entertainment formats,” he said.

Disney XD is due to launch in the UK in the autumn and will replace Jetix, targeting boys between six and 14, with a sweet spot of eight to 12. Orion Ross, vice president of original series, Disney Channels EMEA, added that the channel is seeking programs that offer a “sense of achievement and accomplishment and moving onto the next level – and also cool stuff like sports.”

Meanwhile Disney Channel is seeking shows that will help it “consolidate” its bedtime slots in the face of competition from BBC Children’s and Nickelodeon, as well as series that will break new, UK talent.

Bosely said: “We want formats that enable us to break new kid talent. We want to find the next Zac Efron in the UK and we think we can. It’s about empowering kids and kids want to sing, they want to dance they want to perform… We’re looking for formats that obviously work in the UK but can also work around Europe and globally.”