Jake and the Neverland Pirates Jake and the Neverland Pirates

It's about time he showed up! Disney Channel has a huge hit on its hands with the Peter Pan—inspired animated series Jake and the Never Land Piratesit's cable's top-rated show for boys age 2 to 5 — but the whole first season went by without the Pan Man himself. That changes tonight when the toon goes prime time with a one-hour special, Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns (7/6c, Disney Channel). The plot finds Peter (voiced by Picket Fences vet Adam Wylie) on the hunt for his mischievous shadow, which has run off to Never Land without him. 

"We never brought in Peter because we didn't want him to take attention away from our core characters: Jake, Izzy and Cubby," explains executive producer Rob LaDuca. "He's their hero and his arrival needed to be a big event." And it is. The special also features six original songs and some real drama, preschool-style.

"We sink Peter to his lowest emotional point, then bring him back up, of course!" says producer and story editor Mark Seidenberg. "We usually work in 11-minute episodes. To have time for character development and relationships and songs that really move the story forward is amazing. The hour ends with a promise that Peter will be back."

Alas, the special didn't lure Tinker Bell, who remains a Jake holdout. Cracks LaDuca: "She's very busy with her own line of successful videos."

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