Disney Channel is a cable television network run by The Walt Disney Company. Disney Channel features family-oriented programming, much of it aimed at children of all ages. There is a morning programming
block for younger viewers called Playhouse Disney.
Launched as a commercial-free premium channel (with the exception of advertisements for Disney entertainment products, see Mike's Super Short Show), the Disney Channel began with basic family programming of shows and movies. (It was then co-owned by The Walt Disney Company
and Westinghouse through Group W.) The channel received a special citation from U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
The channel's first programming day began on April 18, 1983 at 7:00 A. M. Eastern, with an episode of Good Morning, Mickey!, which featured classic Disney short cartoons. Early programs shown on the network included Good Morning, Mickey!,
Donald Duck Presents, Dumbo's Circus, You and Me Kid, and Welcome to Pooh Corner. The late night had The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and other programming. Detailed information about The Disney Channel's early programming can be found in back issues
of The Disney Channel Magazine. The Disney Channel had an 18 hour program day (running from 7 AM to 1 AM) from its
inception until December of 1986, at which time it began 24 hour a day programming.
In 1998, Disney Channel took on a revamped look and dropped the "The" in the network's name, and split the network into three programming
blocks—Playhouse Disney, a block of shows aimed at preschoolers; Vault Disney, an overnight block that
featured classic Disney shows and movies such as Zorro, Mickey Mouse Club, and The Love Bug; and the most distinct block, running from afternoon to late evening, called Zoog Disney,
which was a programming block aimed at tweens (children approaching their teenage years)& and sometimes teens mdash;Smart Guy, Bug Juice, The Famous Jett Jackson, So Weird, etc. Zoog Disney also connected Disney Channel viewers and the computer, by allowing kids to interact with games and
see their screen names on television. The programming block also featured anthropomorphic characters called Zoogs. They began to carry break interuptions (not advertising commercials, but promos from the network).
A New Identity
While Disney Channel have move from premium cable to basic cable on January 1997, most of the design elements have changed (as of January 2000). The Zoogs got new redesigned looks, and the channel's logo (which featured a 1930s-era Mickey Mouse on a black Mickey ear-shaped TV), introduced in 1997, was changed to reflect the Zoog Disney image.
From 2001 through 2002, ratings grew higher with such shows as Even Stevens, Kim Possible and others. Lizzie McGuire became the network's banner show, and was the highest-rating program on the network. Reruns of Lizzie continue 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. Disney Channel also changed its look again by intoducing its current logo that month.
Disney Channel Today
The channel has become well known in recent years for its Disney Channel Original Series. Today's Disney Channel runs original
programming such as That's So Raven which is the network's 2nd highest rating original series in its entire history, trailing behind Lizzie McGuire. That's So Raven made history as the first Disney Channel series to beat the 65 episode mark and get 100 episodes. Other hit shows on
Disney are Phil of the Future, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and Kim Possible (which have been shown on ABC after debuting on Disney Channel), along with former ABC sitcoms such as Boy Meets World and Sister, Sister. Other shows aired by Disney Channel include: The Emperor's New School, The Proud Family, Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, American Dragon: Jake Long, The Buzz on Maggie, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Naturally, Sadie, Life With Derek, and Hannah Montana.
Most of Disney Channel's programming today, surprisingly, does not heavily feature the "classic" Disney characters
such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, and Goofy. The characters appear on occasion, especially during the holidays on movies such as Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, and were also featured on the show House of Mouse, which used to air every weekday afternoon on the channel.
The Campaign to Save Disney Shows
With all the success that the Disney Channel has experienced in the last ten years, it has come with its share of costs.
Many of its most-watched shows are forced into cancellation once they reach the maximum of 65 episodes (i.e. Lizzie Mcguire
stopped production at 65 episodes even though it remained its highest rated show at the time). There has been a movement,
mostly through online message boards and forums, to save cancelled shows that were stopped in their prime. The most recent
example is the "Save Phil" or "Save Potf" campaigns that are helping to bring back Phil of the Future, one of Disney Channels highest-rated shows that was canceled after only 43 episodes produced. The campaign is based
from www.savepotf.com.* Organized days are set in weeks in advance and on these designated days, fans call/phone/fax Disney to get their message
across. These days have proven extremely successful in saving the formerly cancelled Kim Possible.
- Phil of the Future is currently on hiatus.
Future Disney Channel
- 2006 Upcoming Original Movies
- Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior (June 2006)
- How My Personal Journal Became A Bestseller (July 2006)
- The Cheetah Girls 2 (August 2006)
- Halloweentown: The Musical (October 2006)
Series produced by Walt Disney Television or production companies unrelated to the Walt Disney Company used to make up most of the schedule, but with the explosion
of Disney Channel Original Series, less of these series air on the channel. The only non-original productions airing on Disney (not including the Playhouse
Disney lineup) as of February 2006 are Sister, Sister and Boy Meets World.
Preschool programming is still a part of the Disney Channel's morning schedule, thanks to the block called Playhouse Disney.
Disney Channel is known and occasionally criticized for its sometimes poor and/or obvious censoring and editing of some
live action series and movies not produced by the channel.
Disney also has compeletely refused to air certain episodes of some non-Original Series especially Boy Meets World
for adult content. Boy Meets World has had at least five episodes omitted from Disney Channel broadcasts. "If You Can't
Be With the One You Love..." from the fifth season is one of the best examples of this. The involvement of alcohol abuse is
the likely reason.
Disney will syndicate its second and third series in the fall with Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire in September 2006. Both series will be distributed by Buena Vista Television which distributes all series produced by Walt Disney or Touchstone Television.
Additionally, a movie is broadcast almost every night, but not necessarily a theatrically released feature film. Disney
Channel airs new made-for-TV movies, called DCOMs, about 6 times a year, and those are frequently broadcast during that timeslot. Circa 2000, Disney Channel claimed to produce a new movie each month, but this only lasted throughout the year 2000. Occasionally, Disney
will secure the rights to air a picture released by a non-Disney studio, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Little Secrets.
During the 1980s and '90s, movies made up most Disney's evening and overnight schedule. Disney now only airs usually around
12 hours of movies per week, occasionally 14 or 15 hours. A Disney Channel Original Movie will usually air twice in the same
night on the Friday it premieres. Most movies airing on Disney Channel usually run around 1 hour, 35 minutes to 1 hour, 45
Because of this, Disney airs filler programming following the movie:
- If the movie lasts 1:25 to 1:35, an Original Series will air (Disney used to air syndicated series that aired on the channel).
- If the movie lasts 1:40 to 1:45, an Original Animated Series will air.
- If the movie lasts 1:50 to 1:55, one or two music videos along with Disney Channel promos will air.
Disney Channel Circle of Stars
The Disney Channel Circle of Stars is a musical group formed by Disney Channel actors and actresses. They have performed
their versions of the classic Disney songs A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes and Circle of Life for music videos
that have aired on Disney Channel. The Circle of Stars consists of Raven-Symoné, Hilary Duff, Kyla Pratt, Tahj Mowry, Christy Carlson Romano, Orlando Brown, Anneliese van der Pol, A.J. Trauth for Circle of Life. The list of singers for A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes can be found here.
The only actual spin-off of Disney Channel is Toon Disney, which features (mostly) cartoons either created or distributed by Disney. The ABC Family Channel (originally CBN and later The Family Channel and later Fox Family, founded in 1976 by Pat Robertson), is now owned by Disney and also features some programming similar to the Disney Channel.
Unlike Disney Channel, Toon Disney is advertiser-supported. Disney Channel itself does have underwriter sponsors for its
programming, but does not air any commercials, mainly only promos for the Channel's series.
The original Disney Channel logo from 1983 to 1994.
The Disney Channel logo used from 1997 to 2000.
A secondary-alternate version of the Disney Channel logo used from 2000 to 2002.
The Disney Channel logo now. 2002 to the present.