New HD channels
ABC Spark: Channel 214 (HD)
Disney Junior: Channel 479 (HD)
As the ABC Spark slogan goes, “Life just got brighter” – literally – with the launch of ABC Spark HD in Canada.
The high definition upgrade arrives just in time for the June 11 premiere of mystery series Twisted, which stars 21-year-old Vancouver actor Avan Jogia, best known as Beck Oliver in the Emmy-nominated teen sitcom Victorious (2010-13).
His Twisted character, Danny, is equally as charismatic as he is shady. Having murdered his aunt when he was only 11, Danny finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation, five years later, when one of his school friends is found dead in her home. The twists and turns start to unravel on Tuesday June 11 at 9 p.m. ET.
Also in June, ABC Spark broadcasts the world premiere of The Fosters, the Jennifer Lopez-produced drama about a bi-racial lesbian couple raising their multi-ethnic family of adoptive and biological children. (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET, starting June 3.)
The roster of original ABC Spark programming includes the new comedy series Baby Daddy (starring Jean-Luc Bilodeau of Kyle XY), the hit comedy Melissa & Joey (Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence), the coming-of-age drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager (starring Molly Ringwald) and the award-winning Switched at Birth, about two teenaged girls who were – you guessed it – accidentally switched at birth by hospital staff.
ABC Spark was launched Canada in March 2012, and draws much of its programming from the U.S. cable channel ABC Family.
Similarly, the Disney Junior channel, known in Canada as Playhouse Disney Channel under the Family Channel banner until its rebranding in 2011, draws its programming from the U.S. cable channel of the same name. It began broadcasting in HD in May 2013.
Its mixture of entertaining, educational and development-based programming designed for preschoolers (and their families), often with a musical bent and featuring heart-felt stories with classic Disney characters, includes the Canadian storybook series Stella and Sam, the long-running Australian classic Bananas in Pyjamas, Jim Henson’s Bear in the Big Blue House and the very popular Doc McStuffins, which teaches good health, hygiene, compassion and nurturing.
The animated Disney Junior staples are Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, DuckTails, Minnie’s Bow-Toons, Little Einsteins, Strawberry Shortcake, Justin Time, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sofia the First.