Beat it, Christopher Robin. It's time Winnie the Pooh had a girlfriend.
The Walt Disney Co. is planning a new Winnie the Pooh television series for 2007, and it will feature an as-yet-unnamed 6-year-old girl, a company spokeswoman said.
But she cautioned that the new character "is not a replacement for Christopher Robin" and added that the role of the character based on author A.A. Milne's son is still to be determined, although it will not be central.
The girl will move next door to the beloved characters created by the English author about 80 years ago--Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo, plus a new character, Lumpy, introduced in a recent Pooh movie.
Disney spokeswoman Patti McTeague said a 22-minute pilot was produced and tested worldwide in focus groups of preschoolers and parents, all to very positive feedback.
The series will be produced by Disney Television Animation and is scheduled to premiere in 2007 on Disney channels around the globe.
"The new character introduced in the series was crafted because the focus of the series is on interactive learning, and she will have a specific role in advancing the curriculum and will 'break the fourth wall' to speak directly to the preschool age viewer," McTeague said.