In a landmark agreement, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced that its animated series NARUTO Shippuden has been acquired by Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group for debut on Disney XD (www.DisneyXD.com) television channel beginning in October.
In the NARUTO manga and animated series, Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja in training, wants to be the best ninja in the land. He's done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. NARUTO Shippuden begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks—except him. Sakura is a medic ninja, Gaara has advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi… well, he remains the same.
“Disney XD is a growing destination for our key demographic, boys 6-14, and we're looking forward to bringing the adventures of NARUTO Shippuden to our lineup," says Tracy McAndrew, Director, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group.
Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens and has sold more than 92 million copies to-date. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and NARUTO Shippuden rated ‘T+’ for older teens), is one of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and has captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America. NARUTO is a co-production of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.
“We’re very pleased to partner with Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group to bring NARUTO Shippuden to U.S. television audiences this fall,” says Bill Germain, Director of Programming Sales, VIZ Media. “With Disney XD as its new broadcast home base, NARUTO Shippuden is poised to take viewers, both new and old, to unprecedented levels of ninja-excitement!”