Disney Channel is an American television channel specializing in television programming for children through original series and movies as well as third party programming. It is marketed to mostly children; however, in recent years the diversity of viewers has decreased with an older audience. Presently available on basic cable and satellite television, Disney Channel is part of Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The network is based in Burbank, California U.S.A, and is a short distance from Disney's headquarters. The channel runs a website, DisneyChannel.com. Disney Channel began broadcasting in high-definition on April 2, 2008. The HD version is carried on many cable systems as well as both DirecTV and Dish Network.
1983 - 1989Edit
The Disney Channel's first broadcasting day aired on April 18, 1983. At this time, Disney Channel was a premium channel and only aired 18 hours a day. The program that kicked off the channel's first day on the air was an episode of the 1950s-era Mickey Mouse Club. The first produced Disney Channel Series shown on the network included Good Morning, Mickey!, Donald Duck Presents, Contraption, Dumbo's Circus, You and Me Kid, EPCOT Magazine and Welcome to Pooh Corner. The original late night schedule featured reruns of the classic The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet; more of them are included in Disney Channel Original Series. Disney Channel received a special citation from the United States president Ronald Reagan in 1984. From the inception, Disney Channel only aired from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. In December 1986, Disney Channel started airing 24 hours. During the early years, Disney Channel aired several foreign animated series and movies including Asterix, The Raccoons, and Paddington Bear. The Australian western, Five Mile Creek, was shown during this time period also.
During the 1980s, the channel debuted a few programs that later became part of the cultural lexicon of sorts. Early on, in 1984, the musically-oriented sitcom Kids Incorporated became a hit, about a pre-teen (and later teen-to-young adult) gang of friends who formed a pop group, mixing their everyday situations with variety-show and music video style performances. During its nine year run, the series spawned many future stars in both music and acting, the most notable being Martika (who went by her real name of Marta Marrero in the show's first season), eventual Party of Five co-stars Scott Wolf and Jennifer Love Hewitt (billed as Love Hewitt) and Fergie (credited as Stacy Ferguson).
November 1988 saw the premiere of the sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which was originally developed by Brandon Tartikoff for NBC. It starred Hayley Mills as a junior high schoolteacher and her day-to-day escapades with her students and faculty. While the sitcom was not a hit on The Disney Channel, it was cancelled and later retooled for its original network of conception, turning up on the NBC Saturday morning lineup BOTTOM in August 1989 as Saved by the Bell. The show became the most successful Saturday morning sitcom in history, making stars out of its original cast Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dustin Diamond, and Lark Voorhies, and running until 2000 with a "next-generation cast" (as Saved by the Bell: The New Class).
In early 1989, The Disney Channel revived one of the empire's early TV staples with The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, which was an immediate hit and proved the basic Disney variety show formula could still work, unlike in the short-lived 1970s revival. The latest version contained many of the classic elements, from "theme days" to mouseketeer jackets (albeit updated), but the scripted and musical segments were hip and current. The early seasons of MMC (which became the official title by season 7) had an exclusive offering of musical numbers to recent hits, along with original material. The main scripted features included the continuing "show-within-a-show", Emerald Cove. Later, more on-set comedy skits were worked in. The show became a fixture on the late afternoon lineup alongside Kids Incorporated. MMC was just as blessed with a stellar young cast, launching more careers of today's big stars than the shows previously mentioned; Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake are just a few of the many "mice that soared".
A New Identity Edit
In 1997, Disney Channel took on a revamped look and dropped the word "The" in the network's name (However, promos often referred to the channel as simply "Disney" and the logo often omitted the "Channel" in the network's name also), and split the network into three programming blocks: Playhouse Disney, comprising of shows aimed at preschoolers; Vault Disney, featuring classic Disney material such as Zorro, The Mickey Mouse Club, the Disney anthology television series, older television specials and features such as The Love Bug; and the most distinct one, running from afternoon to late evening, called Zoog Disney. A new channel logo (which featured a 1930s-era Mickey Mouse on a black Mickey ear-shaped TV), was introduced at this time. They began to carry break interruptions (not advertising commercials, but promos for network programming).
Of the three blocks introduced in 1997, only Playhouse Disney continues to this day. As part of the network's 2002 re-brand campaign, the "Zoog" brand name was dropped, and Vault Disney was dropped (primarily to contribute to the network's new "hip" image).
The Zoog Disney Era Edit
While Disney Channel moved from premium cable to basic cable on January 1996, most of the design elements changed three years later. In 1998, Zoog Disney was introduced to Disney Channel meaning they would have two logos, the "Mickey Mouse Screen" logo, introduced in 1997, and the Zoog Disney logo (which used the "Mickey Mouse Screen" logo design with a spiral inside the screen and the word "ZOOG" in yellow lettering perched in front of the ears of the logo), introduced in 1998. The two logos coexisted from 1998 until 2002, when Zoog Disney was removed and Disney Channel introduced its current logo.
Zoog Disney was aimed at preteens and young teenagers up to the age of 15, and the block featured anthropomorphic characters called "Zoogs", who resembled robots (but the Zoog characters were given human voices). Zoog Disney used their website to connect viewers to their programs, allowing kids to interact with games, limited chat, and the possibility of having their comments and/or screen names appear on television (Shows on this block included Even Stevens, Lizzie McGuire, Smart Guy, The Famous Jett Jackson and So Weird.) By 2000, Disney Channel brought about a visible shift in its demographics, positioning itself as a channel for pre-teens, as opposed to aiming it at all ages.
From September 2001 to August 2002, the entire weekend lineup (except for the Vault Disney and Playhouse Disney lineups) was branded as "Zoog Weekendz". The Zoogs original look was one-dimensional, however, the Zoogs were redesigned in 2001, with a more three-dimensional design and mature voices, but were phased out after less than a year.
In 2001, Disney Channel entered into a deal with corporate cousin ABC to air its original programming. Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens were the only Disney Channel originals on the lineup initially, but ABC now currently airs all of Disney Channel's active original live-action series and select active animated series, as well one live-action series from Toon Disney's Jetix. Power Rangers is currently the only Jetix show that ABC airs (the series originally aired on Fox from 1993 to 2002, one year after Disney bought Fox Family (formerly The Family Channel, now ABC Family) from Fox's parent company News Corporation and partner Haim Saban). However, some ABC affiliates currently refuse to clear Power Rangers due to lack of E/I content. Disney Channel's deal with ABC is limited to the network's Saturday morning lineup and does not include the broadcast of its original movies airing on ABC's Wonderful World of Disney.
From 2000 through 2003, ratings grew higher with such shows as Even Stevens, That's So Raven, Kim Possible, Lizzie McGuire and others. Lizzie McGuire became the network's banner show, and was the highest-rated program on the network. Reruns of Lizzie continued to outrate competing shows, including those from Disney Channel itself. This led to the termination of Vault Disney and all other classic Disney programming in September 2002.
To complement the change, Disney Channel changed their logo in October 2002 (this was partially to celebrate its then-upcoming 20th anniversary). The Zoog Disney identity was also merged with Disney Channel. Some functions of the channel's website contain games, polls and other special features that were found on the former Zoog Disney website, as a result of a merger of that site and DisneyChannel.com in 2002.
Today's Disney Channel Edit
In September 2002, Disney Channel was gradually remodeled once more. First on September 9th, the vintage material aired under the Vault Disney banner was discontinued in favor of same-day repeats of the channel's original programming and off-network series and as a result, primetime movies were also cut to one a night (from two). The channel also ceased producing drama and reality series, shifting focus to live-action comedies and animated series, and Disney Channel usually premieres about two or three new original series a year (typically two animated series and one live-action series). The current logo was implemented a month later.
Anne Sweeney, a veteran cable executive, took control of Disney-ABC Television Group in 2004 and successfully remade Disney Channel into "the major profit driver in the company." By 2008, Condé Nast Portfolio was able to note that the Channel "has been adding a million viewers a month—every month—for the last five years," and also called the Channel "the greatest teen-star incubator since the NBA stopped drafting high schoolers." Sweeney's successful strategy was to discover, nurture, and aggressively cross-promote teen music stars whose style and image were carefully targeted to the "tween" segment of 10-year-olds in the period between childhood and adolescence.
While Disney Channel's intended target audience are preschoolers, pre-teens and young adolescents, the channel has gained mega popularity and also has viewers outside the main target audience and has even made teen idols out of some of the channel's stars. The channel has become well known in recent years for its Disney Channel Original Series, and because of them, Disney Channel is one of the most-watched cable channels in the United States, with some series averaging around three million viewers (which is considered impressive for cable television). However, hardcore Disney fans have been very upset at the exclusion of classic Disney characters (which seldom appear except for an occasional showing of movies like "Once Upon a Christmas" and a version of their ID where Mickey draws the logo) and episodes of the anthology series to the point of complaining about how Disney Channel "doesn't show Disney stuff anymore."
In 2005, That's So Raven became the network's highest-rated series of all time, as well as making history as the first Disney channel Original Series to beat the 65th episode limit and get 100 episodes and a spin off. Other popular shows on Disney Channel include: Hannah Montana starring Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody starring Cole and Dylan Sprouse, Ashley Tisdale and Brenda Song, Wizards of Waverly Place starring Selena Gomez, David Henrie and Jake T. Austin, Cory in the House starring Kyle Massey, Jason Dolley and Madison Pettis, Life with Derek starring Michael Seater and Ashley Leggat , Thats So Raven starring Raven Symone, Kyle Massey, Orlando Brown and Anneliese Van Der Pol and Phil of the Future starring Ricky Ullman, Alyson Michalka and Amy Bruckner. Disney Channel Original Movies also became more popular in this period, with The Cheetah Girls starring Raven Symone and Adrienne Bailon, The Cheetah Girls 2 starring Raven Symone, Adriene Bailon, Kiely Williams, Sabrina Bryan and Lynn Whitfield, High School Musical starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale, Jump In starring Corbin Bleu and Keke Palmer, Minute Men starring Jason Dolley, Luke Benward, Nicholas Braun, and Chelsea Staub, High School Musical 2 starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale and Camp Rock starring Demi Lovato (in her first lead role in a film), The Jonas Brothers, Meaghan Jette Martin, Alyson Stoner, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Jasmine Richards, and Maria Canals Barrera, all drawing large viewing numbers for the channel.
In 2007 Disney Channel redesigned itself with new design elements and new bumpers. Disney Channel's estimated value is currently around $920,000,000.Template:Fact
On July 1, 2008, Disney Channel Spain started its broadcasting at the Digital terrestrial television free platform after several years at Digital+ ,a payment cable TV company. Spain became the first country where Disney channel is offered free to everybody.
Disney Channel is available in high definition.
In 2007, Disney Channel remodeled itself again, though the logo was retained. Bumpers changed to an anstromosphere, each background with transparent objects that have to do with the show (Exp. Suitcases). Instead of the logo bouncing from one side of the screen to the other, a ribbon swirls around the screen until forming into the logo. Also, the digital font was dropped along with the "Hip" image. Additionally, the female announcer was dropped so that she could commentate Playhouse Disney.
- Main article: List of programs broadcast by Disney Channel
Series produced by Walt Disney Television or production companies unrelated to the Walt Disney Company used to make up most of the schedule; nowadays, with the explosion of Disney Channel Original Series, fewer of these series have aired on the channel. As of January 2008, the only non-original productions airing on Disney (not including the Playhouse Disney lineup, movies, and short series Minuscule and Shaun the Sheep) are Life With Derek, The Little Mermaid, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa (Buzz Lightyear and Timon and Pumbaa have just recently been taken off the lineup, but have been replaced by That's So Raven and Phil of the Future. The Playhouse Disney block airs daily from 6:00 am until noon. During the summer line-up it ends at 10:00 AM and the regular Disney block begins. On Weekends, Playhouse Disney will end at 12:00 PM in which Disney Channel will start it's Summer lineup.
Naturally, Sadie, Boy Meets World, and Sister, Sister were removed from the Disney Channel lineup in 2007, while other shows experienced time slot changes. The station returned to a more normal schedule on September 4, 2007.
Current U.S. schedule Edit
LogosEditDisney Channel used Mickey Mouse's face as its logo since its debut in 1983 to 1997. This logo was still in use as the official logo until 2002. From 1997 - 2002, Disney Channel introduced the Mickey Mouse Ear-Shaped TV Screen logo, and from 1998 - 2002, it also introduced the Zoog Disney logo.
From 2002 - present, Disney Channel used Mickey Mouse's face again, this time with the "Disney Channel" logo. From 2002 - 2007, the face bounced from corner to corner of the screen. They show which 2 shows are next. At the beginning of each movie's, or each episode's, part, the face bounced to the screen and show what show they are watching.
Since early 2007, despite being the same logo, the Bumpers changed to an anstromsphere. They only show which show is next, and they sometimes when the face bounced to the screen, show what series they are watching, but when the face turns into a ribbon at the beginning of each episode's part, they show three series, which are a show they are watching, what show is next, and which show is coming up later. It's also shown during the end credits at the bottom of the screen, except which show they are watching.
Programming Blocks Edit
Playhouse Disney Edit
- Main article: Playhouse Disney
Playhouse Disney occupies a major part of the programming on Disney Channel in the United States and has done so since it was introduced in 1997. Its programming airs during the morning hours and is focused on younger children and encourages morals, art, and music. Playhouse Disney airs as a channel in other countries around the world, including France, Australia, and New Zealand. Some of the programming features series like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, My Friends Tigger and Pooh, and Little Einsteins. Movies are frequently shown on Monday, during Playhouse Disney’s Movie Time Monday.
Night of Premieres is a programming block on Disney Channel. It generally airs every 5 weeks on a Saturday night and usually contains new episodes from Disney Channel Original Series.
Disney Channel Games Edit
- Main article: Disney Channel Games
Debuting in 2006, the Disney Channel Games includes stars from Disney Channel Original Series and Movies. Disney Channel Games 2007, airing in summer 2007, featured Disney Channel stars from outside of the US and added the yellow team to the three other colors(red, blue, and green). The games returned again on July 28,2008 right after the Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert. This time the four teams had names. Yellow-Comets, Blue-Lightning,Green-Cyclones, and Red-Inferno. The Disney Channel Games website was also redesigned with a new feature called the "Inside Track" with hosts Meaghan Martin and Cody Linley.
Halloween Events Edit
- Main Article: Disney Channel's Hauntober Fest
The Disney Channel formerly aired classic Halloween telefilms such as The Halloween That Almost Wasn't, Witch's Night Out,The Worst Witch, Mr. Boogedy, The Canterville Ghost, Blackbeard's Ghost, and Disney's Halloween Treat/A Disney Halloween from October 1983 to the late 1990s.
Since 2005, Disney Channel has aired Halloween themed episodes of series and movies during the Halloween season, including Hocus Pocus, the Halloweentown series, and Twitches. In 2007, Disney Channel aired the Twitches sequel, Twitches Too. Disney Channel also aired new Halloween episodes of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and their newest show Wizards of Waverly Place revolving around wizards, a Halloween object. In October 2008, Dadnapped will air, possibly as a Halloween special.
Past Programming Blocks Edit
Adventures in Comedy Edit
Cartoon comedy series added in Summer 2006 included Lilo and Stitch: The Series, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King’s Timon and Pumbaa, and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. This block has since been absorbed into the regular schedule, with the shows airing on the early morning.
This was added to Disney Channel summer of 2004. It aired every Friday and it involved 4 magnets that would host the show and air brand new episodes of Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Kim Possible, Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, etc.
An opportunity to watch some of Disney Channel’s most popular shows weekdays afternoons. That's So Raven aired on Monday, with Phil of the Future on Tuesday, Hannah Montana on Wednesday, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Thursday, and Life with Derek on Friday. This block was added September 2006 and removed in May 2007.
- Main article: List of Disney Channel Original Movies
A movie is broadcast almost every night, but not necessarily a theatrically released feature film. Disney Channel airs new original movies, called Disney Channel Original Movies (or DCOMs), about 4 to 6 times a year, and those are frequently broadcast during that timeslot. In 2000, Disney Channel claimed to produce a new movie each month; this only lasted throughout that same year.
In 2007, Jump In! became the most-watched DCOM on its premiere, it brought 8.2 million viewers, beating ratings champion The Cheetah Girls 2. Its soundtrack became available January 2, 2007. However, High School Musical 2 is the most successful DCOM in popularity and awards, setting a cable record for most viewers of a basic cable program, when its debut scored 17.2 million, a record that stood until the December 3rd Monday Night Football matchup between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens on corporate sibling ESPN surpassed it with 17.5 million viewers. The Cheetah Girls films are also notably successful, with huge merchandise, sold out concert tours and soundtrack sales.
The channel will occasionally secure the rights to air a picture released by a non-Disney studio, most notably Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (along with its sequels, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), the same studio's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, NBC Universal's Beethoven, Sony Pictures' Stuart Little and the same studio's Little Secrets which was owned by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Also, another non-Disney Christmas themed movie, The Polar Express was aired.
During the 1980s and 1990s, movies made up most Disney's evening and overnight schedule. It now only airs usually around 12 hours of movies per week, occasionally 14 or 15. A Disney Channel Original Movie used to air twice in a row on the night of its Friday night premiere; this tradition ended with the premiere of High School Musical. Most movies airing on Disney Channel usually run in the 95 to 105-minute range, promos included.
Because of this, Disney airs filler programming following the movie:
- If it lasts 1:25 to 1:35, an Original Series will air (Disney used to air syndicated series that aired on the channel).
- If it lasts 1:40 to 1:45, a miniature episode of an Original Animated Series will air (most likely an 11-minute episode of an Animated Original Series).
- If it lasts 1:50 to 1:55, either a music video with air along with Disney Channel promos, or an episode of a Disney Channel Short Series such as Shaun the Sheep, The Road to The Cheetah Girls 3: One World, or As the Bell Rings may run.
In November 2006, the Disney Channel Original Movie opener was remixed.
Disney Channel has aired promotions for General Mills cereals, Yoplait, McDonald's, Danimals, Subway, and Kellogg's. Though they are not regular commercials, they are tailored to Disney Channel audiences. Aside from the sponsor announcements, Disney Channel's program breaks consist mostly of promos for the channel's programming. Other promos for Disney-owned networks, music videos and public service announcements are also carried in the breaks.
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