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Kids' channels line up hot fanfare as summer beckons

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MUMBAI: Summer is just around the corner and no doubt kids' channels have a lot of programming goodies up their sleeves. Movies, live action, animation, contests and much more? it's all there on Cartoon Network, Pogo, Hungama TV, Disney Channel, Toon Disney and Nick.

What's more? comedy seems to be the flavour for the holidays with Pogo, Hungama TV and Nick introducing special comedy shows for the summer.

Pogo started its summer special programming with Pogo Funny Side-Up, featuring new episodes of Takeshi's Castle, voiced by some of the winners of the Great Indian Laughter Challenge show.

Pogo will also launch another new original, live-action production on Pogo following our two summer launches last year, M.A.D. and Bam! Bam! Bam!... Gir Pade Hum.

On the other hand, Cartoon Network will see the launch of more Indian animation shows and a network premiere of a Beyblade full length movie - Beyblade, The Movie: Fierce Battle in Cartoon Network Theatre.

Other highlights include, Beylade Marathon - 3?2?1 Hojaye Shuru, which will air every Sunday from 4 - 8 pm. Apart from that, Raja Hindustani - a special one hour block of Indian animation - began on the channel from 16 April and airs every Sunday at 11 am.

Also new episodes of Tom & Jerry Tales will be aired on Sundays at 10 am. The new series in the Toonami block include Pokemon: Advanced, Beyblade G Revolution and a new show called One Piece. Yet another new show in the Half Ticket Express block called Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs will also be aired in summer.

Turner International India Pvt. Ltd managing director Anshuman Misra said, "Summer is an important time for Cartoon Network and Pogo. We have some of the best programming mix lined up for Indian kids during these holiday months. New original productions, new family shows and blockbuster movies will mark their debut during the April - July period."

Homegrown kids channel Hungama TV too has a robust summer lineup in store for kids. The channel has acquired a couple of Japanese animation shows.

In March, the channel already launched Dragon and FiFi & the Flower Tots in the pre-school band. The preschool band has now been renamed Toon Toon Toon.

The other two bands that the channel will introduce are the Toon Blast band and a two and a half hour comedy band called Ha Ha Ha Hungama.

The Toon Blast band will air new seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Sonix X. In addition Hungama TV will launch the anime version of one of the most successful Japanese merchandise Amdriver, which has a futuristic storyline of a fight of good v/s evil. Yu-Gi-Oh! will air at 5 pm, Amdriver at 5.30 pm and Sonic X at 6 pm from Monday to Friday.

The Ha Ha Ha Hungama band will tickle the funny bone with a new show Kochikame at 2.30 pm from Monday to Friday. "This show is the longest running hilarious slapstick comedy in Japan about an inefficient cop who is good in his heart but otherwise is good for nothing," informs Hungama TV COO Zarina Mehta.

Another show called Peep and the Big Wide World will also be launched in this band and will air at 3 pm from Monday to Friday. This is a series featuring three birds - a chicken called Peep, a robin called Chirp and a duck called Quack. The story revolves around close friends and their fun and exploration in their neighborhood. Apart from unique humor it also imbibes a positive attitude and inquiry skills that promise to provide inspirational programming for kids.

"We have always managed to get the best of content for our audience. The shows that are due to launch in April have truly delightful visual appeal offering kids a 360-degree entertainment parameter that will definitely make their vacation a roll-a- costar ride at home," says Mehta.

And that's not all? Hungama TV is also planning a large scale ground event to coincide with a big show launch. But the channel is keeping it tightly under wraps for now at least!

Coming to Disney Channel, one thing to look out for here is the Oscar-winning 'fishy' movie Finding Nemo. The channel will premier the movie in Hindi on 25 June. The film follows the comedic and eventful journeys of two fish - Marlin and his son Nemo. Disney Channel will go the whole hog to promote Finding Nemo including a watch-and-win contest around movie trivia, which will be aired during breaks. Viewers can send in their entries through SMS and IVRS to win cool Nemo merchandise.

Apart from that, the channel will also air the first Indian animation movie - Hanuman, to which it recently acquired the telecast rights for three years from Sahara One Media and Entertainment Ltd. Hanuman will launch in May on Disney Channel as an eight episode series and will be aired at 9 am on weekends.

What's more, the channel will build a 360 degree multi media campaign around all new episodes of That's So Raven!. On 15 April, Hatim - the saga of a strong and courageous Prince of Yemen will launch on Disney Channel at 6 pm on weekdays.

Apart from that, the preschool content destination, Playhouse Disney is being further strengthened with the launch of Mickey Mouse Club House. The show will launch on 6 May at 8.30 am on weekends.

The Walt Disney Television International (India) director programming and production Nachiket Pantvaidya says, "This summer we have an exciting line-up of content for kids. We believe in showcasing a mix of the best local kid's content and the best international content from the Disney stable. Hits like Hanuman, Finding Nemo and That's So Raven will draw older kids to Disney Channel."

Live action, preschool programming and comedy will rule the roost on Nick. The first in line is a live action comedy show called Drake & Josh. The show revolves around a pair of diametrically opposite step-brothers and will premiere as part of an April Fool's Day stunt on 1 April.

Another new show Avatar will be launched in May. This new animated show is about a 12 year old boy who is master of all four elements and must stop the ruthless Fire Nation from conquering the world.

Nick has also acquired a couple of preschool shows called Peppa Pig and Dougie in Disguise, which will also launch in May. While Peppa Pig revolves around a family of pigs, the Spanish acquisition Dougie in Disguise is about an ordinary kid who plays with sticker albums that come to life through his imagination. Apart from these, Nick has also lined up another new preschool show in June.

"Summer vacations will be huge on Nick with an enormous programming bonanza rolling out. Starting 1 April, we're premiering a show called Drake & Josh, which is a live action comedy and also showing a Nick Dhoom double bill on weekends featuring a whole hour of top shows," says Nick India vice president and general manager Hema Govindan.

Speaking on the preschool shows Govindan adds, "Preschool is doing very well and becoming a focus for us so we're expanding our Nick Jr. preschool block. We're also doing Monday Marathons of hit shows like Kenan & Kel and SpongeBob SquarePants, which means eight hours at a stretch of these shows."

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