You can't go wrong pitching all things blingy to little girls, and that — along with a dash of preschool-friendly morality — is the idea behind Disney's new princess character, "Sofia the First."
The company confirms to TheWrap that it is introducing an animated movie and TV series that will revolve around Sofia, the purple-gowned kiddie princess. (Though a Disney creation, and a princess, she is not part of the Disney Princess lineup).
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"Sofia the First" adventures will begin with the titular little girl, who becomes a princess when her mom marries the king of her storybook world.
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Sofia and her mom then pack up and move to the royal castle, where her fancy, glamorous new life includes frilly frocks and Amber and James, her new stepbrother and stepsister. Other Disney Princesses, including Cinderella, will pop up in Sofia's world, and "Sleeping Beauty" fairies Fauna, Flora and Merryweather will appear as the headmistresses of Royal Prep, Sofia's school.
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The "Sofia" movie will debut in fall 2012, with the TV series following in spring 2013. "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter will voice Sofia, with "Grey's Anatomy" star Sara Ramirez as her mom, Queen Miranda, "Let's Make a Deal" host Wayne Brady as a clever rabbit named Clover and "Project Runway" fashion guru Tim Gunn voicing Baileywick, the Royal Steward.
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"Sofia" will debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, the daytime block of programming that will launch as its own cable channel early in 2012. Disney Junior is aimed at the 2-7-year-old age group.
"Although Sofia will have plenty of pretty dresses and sparkly shoes, our stories will show Sofia, and our viewers, that what makes a real princess is what's inside, not what's outside," said Nancy Kanter, senior vice president of programming and general manager for Disney Junior Worldwide. "That the inner character of kindness, generosity, loyalty, honesty and grace make you special, not the dress you wear.
"In Sofia, we have a 'peer to peer princess,' a relatable girl experiencing the same social issues as our young viewers … learning how to fit in, making new friends, conquering new skills and building sibling relationships." Related Articles: Nickelodeon's Ratings Drop — and the Meanest Thing the Disney Channel's Ever Said (Update) The Next Generation of Disney Stars