Jake and the Never Land Pirates (lost pitch pilot of Disney Junior animated series; 2009)
Jake and the Never Land Pirates was an interactive animated series that ran on Disney Junior from 2011-2016. The series follows Jake, Izzy, Cubby, their parrot Skully, and their pirate ship Bucky as they go on adventures across Never Land whilst attempting to outsmart Captain Hook and his assistant, Mr. Smee, who constantly steal their treasures. Every episode ends with an original song performed by Sharky (voiced by Loren Hoskins) and Bones (voiced by Kevin Hendrickson), who make up the Never Land Pirate Band.
According to an interview, production on the pilot began back in late 2007 when the show’s creator Bobs Gannaway was looking for music to listen to while writing the pilot. After discovering a pirate band called Captain Bogg and Salty, Gannaway showed the pirate band to Jay Stutler, the vice president of music at Disney Television Animation. Originally, the team was going to utilize their catalog of music created for Captain Bogg and Salty, but the team decided it would be more suitable for the composers to create their own original songs specifically for the series. The Jake pilot completed in 2009, and due to positive reception, Disney Channel ordered a first season with 26 episodes. After originally planning to air on Playhouse Disney, the series was set to release on February 14th, 2011 as the flagship show to launch the rebranded Disney Junior.
In another interview with Nancy Kanter, the former Senior Vice President of Original Programming for Disney Junior (then Playhouse Disney), Kanter provided insight on how programs were made. She detailed that Disney wanted to create a pirate series based upon the Peter Pan franchise. After working with writers and creators to develop ideas, a pilot was created to test to an audience of parents and their children. Following the success of the pilot, the show was green lit for its first season.
A tweet from Colin Ford reveals that the show was originally titled Jake’s Team Pirate before the title was changed to Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
A user by the name of Angelu James Talento Galacio uploaded a Hong Kong promo for Disney Junior, containing footage of an earlier version of the show. Clips can be found at 0:59-1:01, and again at 1:11. It is unconfirmed if this footage is from the pilot, or an earlier version of the final show.
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- OregonLive interview with Captain Bogg and Salty about Jake and the Neverland Pirates Retrieved 27 Jun '23
- Nancy Kanter interview wth Girl.com on Jake and the Neverland Pirates pilot Retrieved 27 Jun '23