At midnight on Friday, February 13, 2009, Toon Disney quietly went off the airwaves and was replaced by Disney XD, the new network that is currently described by Disney executives as “boy-focused, girl-inclusive,” with programming targeted to appeal to boys aged 6-14. The New York Times has taken a look at the new network (free registration required), noting that it will be available immediately in 72 million households, and that while “ratings research says 40 percent of Disney Channel’s audience is male,” the TV unit has had trouble building entertainment franchises for boys. The article goes further to state that, “Other companies, notably Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, have had some success, but no one has truly cracked young males as a consumer group.”
Advertisers have been lining up for Disney XD, including Lego, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft and Pokémon USA. The live-action Aaron Stone and the animated Phineas & Ferb will be the cornerstones of the new network, with other programming to come soon including Kid Knievel and The Spectacular Spider-Man, as well as movies like Pixar’s Cars (which, reportedly, “has awakened Disney to the potential gold mine of properties focused on boys”).