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Gunn expands mentoring to Disney’s ‘Sofia the First’

Tim Gunn has advised divas for years on “Project Runway,” so working with a princess is no big deal.

In the new Disney Junior animated series “Sofia the First,” Mr. Gunn’s royal steward character, Baileywick, helps the young Sofia adapt to royal life after her mother marries a king. Baileywick not only helps Sofia (voiced by Ariel Winters) dress like a royal, but he also guides her on developing manners, grace and an independent spirit.

“I feel very comfortable in this role,” he said in an Associated Press interview.

Certainly, 2- to 7-year-old children are a new audience, Mr. Gunn said, but being a teacher who knows when to give congratulations and critiques — and how to look after his charge — are skills he’s honed for most of his professional life. Before Heidi Klum came calling for him to work on TV with aspiring designers, Mr. Gunn was chair of Parsons the New School for Design fashion department.

Mr. Gunn, 59, said he enjoys sometimes veering from the expected career path. A few years ago, Marvel Comics turned him into a superhero to save a fashion exhibit.

“When Marvel asked if I would do it, they asked with trepidation. They were nervous that I wouldn’t, but who doesn’t want to be their own comic book superhero?” Mr. Gunn said. “I said I’d do it in a heartbeat, and it was the same way with Disney.”

Disney launched the characters in a TV movie just before Thanksgiving. The regular series debuts Friday.

The message of “Sofia the First” is a good one, Gunn says: Looking the part only gets you halfway there and then you have to act like a leader and be nice to people at the same time. “If I had a child, I would want my child watching this for the lesson in moral character.”

Dempsey bid for coffee chain appears to have won

Actor Patrick Dempsey said it appears his bid to buy a small coffee chain has prevailed in a bankruptcy auction that included Starbucks Corp.

Late Thursday night, Mr. Dempsey announced that his company, Global Baristas LLC, made the winning bid for Tully’s Coffee. He noted in a KOMO-TV interview that a bankruptcy judge will have the final say on Friday. Still, Mr. Dempsey tweeted “We got it! Thank you Seattle!”

Mr. Dempsey’s company will pay $9.15 million for Tully’s and complete the purchase later this month after the court hearing, he said in a statement.

“I’m thrilled that we won and I’m even more excited about saving Tully’s Coffee and its hundreds of jobs,” he said. “Tully’s is a great company with committed employees, and with its base in Seattle, one of the world’s greatest cities, I’m confident we will be able to successfully build the brand and help grow the economy. “

Tully’s Coffee has 47 company-owned locations in Washington and California. The company, with more than 500 employees, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

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