What do Jay Leno, Hoda Kotb, Gordon Ramsay, and Jeff Gordon all have in common? They have recurring roles in the upcoming animated TV series, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, coming to Disney Junior this January. One wouldn’t think that Ramsay, the foul-mouthed star of Hell’s Kitchen, would make a good choice for voicing a children’s program or that Kotb, the morning show host of NBC’s Today, would have time to spare, but they have signed on along with a slew of other top talent. Perhaps, Disney hopes the name recognition will encourage parents to “buy in” to the program before it even airs.
Mickey and the Roadster Racers features Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Pluto and their “unique transforming vehicles” as they travel across the world and compete in various races with a variety of high-spirited races similar to Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races from the 1960s or Yogi’s Space Race from the late 1970s.
The Roadster Racers comedy adventure series aims at kids ages 2-7, and the content intended to serve as a positive role model teaching children about friendship, teamwork, optimism and good sportsmanship. Half of the new show will focus on Minnie’s and Daisy’s “Happy Helpers” outreach project that offers a helping hand to anyone who needs it. (Those two girls must have tons of energy).
— Disney Channel PR (@DisneyChannelPR) December 1, 2016
The cast of recurring characters include:
- Jay Leno as Billy Beagle a racetrack announcer and head of the Beagle Boys Camera Crew
- NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as Gordon Gear, another roadster driver
- Race car driver Danica Patrick as Danni Sue, a world-famous driver
- NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson as himself and a friend of Mickey Mouse
- Tim Gunn (from Project Runway) as Robbie Roberts, a world-famous travel writer
- Hoda Kotb as Mrs. Seetums, a candy shop owner
- Gordon Ramsay as Chef Oxley, an energetic and famous chef
- Hector Elizondo (from Last Man Standing) as Grandpa Beagle, the grandfather of Billy Beagle
- Peter Serafinowicz (from Guardians of the Galaxy) as Dr. Crutchley
- Jane Leeves (from Frasier) as the Queen of England
- Fred Willard as Mr. Doozy
- Tony Shalhoub as Luigi
- Kate Micucci as Emmy Lou
- Tia Carrere as Ante Olina
- Patton Oswalt as Mr. McSnorter
Mickey and the Roadster Racers will debut in a simulcast Sunday, January 15 at 9:00 a.m. and 9:25 a.m. on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, as well as the Disney Junior app and Disney Junior VOD. It will be made available on iTunes the day after. Beginning on Christmas, kids will be able to unlock daily content for the show on the Disney Junior App as a way of counting down the days before the series premiere.
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Disney described the goals for the series in a press release.
“As with all Disney Junior programming, Mickey and the Roadster Racers is guided by an established curriculum that nurtures multiple areas of child development: physical, emotional, social and cognitive, thinking and creative skills, as well as moral and ethical development. Stories emphasize multiple ways to solve problems and help kids develop critical thinking skills, along with perseverance and resilience. Curiosity and discovery are central to the series, as Mickey and his pals explore different countries, cultures and traditions on their adventures.”
Disney Junior is starting to roll out “Roadster Racers.” Which is the successor series for “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” https://t.co/tnVFZhuyvZ
— Jim Hill Media (@JimHillMedia) November 10, 2016
Many of Disney’s TV talent professionals are taking the reins of the new Mickey show, including executive producer Rob LaDuca, co-executive producer and supervising story editor Mark Seidenberg, story editor Thomas Hart, art director Sy Thomas, and voice director Kelly Ward.
[Featured Images by Getty Images]