Boy Power: Disney XD, 'Aaron Stone' Debuts

Disney's The Suite Life of Zack and CodyWalt Disney Co. hopes to do for young boys, with a revamped TV cable network, what it has successfully done for girls on the Disney Channel with shows like "Hannah Montana." The low-rated Toon Disney, which had been the quasi-home of boy-targeted animated shows, will get a new name--Disney XD--and a major marketing push.

The changeover will take place in February--but only in the U.S.

For the 19 Jetix channels (another Disney boy-targeted brand) and six Toon Disney-branded channels and programming in all other parts of the world, Disney will make a name-change decision on a case-by-case basis.

In the U.S., Toon Disney reaches an estimated 70 million households, but earns a fraction of the ratings that Disney Channel enjoys. It currently has old-themed boy-targeted shows "Power Rangers Jungle Fury" and reruns "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Jackie Chan Adventures."

Disney has attempted to target boys ages 6 to 14 on the Disney Channel with shows such as "Even Stevens" or "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody"--but without much success. However, new show "Phineas and Ferb" seems to be building a following.

Still, none have witnessed the rocketing success of the young girl-targeted "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical" franchises, as well as other highly rated shows, such as "Camp Rock" and "Lizzie McGuire."

Some of Disney Channel's boy-targeted shows will migrate to Disney XD--as well as a new series, "Aaron Stone," a live-action show about a video game genius who leads a secret double life as a crime fighter.

Analysts have said Disney's longtime problem is that it has been identified primarily as a haven for young girls. Other channels, such as Turner's Cartoon Network and its older male Adult Swim, are stronger homes for boys ages 6 to 14+.

Disney's marketing effort for its new brand, Disney XD, appears to hinge on its new X-games-like, tougher-sounding name.

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