Disney Channel

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Disney's cable/satellite channel.

Established in 1983—a time when the Walt Disney Company seemed to be on its last legs, just before the arrival of Michael Eisner and company—it initially served as an outlet for the company's old theatrical shorts, movies, and television shows, a source of documentary shows about Disney Theme Parks and films, and a dumping ground for productions Disney had little faith in. Similar to Nickelodeon's early years, it didn't air around the clock until the "Disney After Dark" block, with PG programming for adults (including Going Home, a series of concert specials featuring mostly baby boomer-era acts, and A Prairie Home Companion), was added. The channel also featured a colorful variety of family-oriented movies and series from other companies and countries, especially Canada (the Anne of Green Gables films were popular enough that they led to the successful spinoff series Avonlea in The Nineties). Many Eighties kids feel very nostalgic for these early days, which included Dot and The Kangaroo and its sequels, the Unico anime films, and the later seasons of Kids Incorporated, all accompanied by colorful, often stop-motion Ad Bumpers (but without the ads).

In the early '90's, when the company and the channel started getting treated with more respect, shows such as The New Mickey Mouse Club, the aforementioned Avonlea, Flash Forward (a launching pad for Ben Foster and Jewel Staite), In A Heartbeat and The Famous Jett Jackson helped the channel improve. However, it eternally lagged behind the wildly popular Nickelodeon, in part because it was a pay cable service like HBO. It subsequently moved to basic cable and developed a unique format—instead of commecial breaks, pauses in programming are filled with promotions for other shows, Disney films and other Disney products like CDs and their sister radio network, Radio Disney, which are often their own promotional mini-shows. In addition, the adult-oriented lineup was replaced with "Vault Disney", a programming block that featured the vintage Disney shows that had been the channel's lifeblood for so long.

Then someone in the company had the idea for Lizzie McGuire. Its success led Disney to create more and more preteen sitcoms where the idealism is cranked Up to Eleven and the Laugh Track never stops. The channel has become more popular than it's ever been thanks to Hannah Montana, the High School Musical franchise, and other, similar live-action series.

Toon Disney was a spinoff channel that focused on Disney animation, but as a result of Network Decay became Disney XD (eXtreme Disney).

The Playhouse Disney preschool-oriented morning block was a staple of the network for many years and underwent a number of shifts. On Valentine's Day, 2011 it was rebranded as Disney Junior (a website and a YouTube channel have been created) and in March 2012 it became a full 24-hour-network in the U.S., replacing SOAPNet—a very controversial move among Soap Opera fans. Some carriers are continued to provide an automated version of SOAPNet alongside Disney Junior until carriage agreements have been workedout. Playhouse Disney already existed as an independent network in many non-U.S. markets and have been rebranded as Disney Junior as well.

See also DCLAU.


Shows Originating on The Disney Channel[edit | hide | hide all]

Animated shows in both the "Playhouse Disney" and "Disney Junior" blocks[edit | hide]

Animated shows in the Disney Junior block and 24/7 Disney Junior channel only[edit | hide]

  • Babar and the Adventures of Badou
  • Doc McStuffins
  • Gaspard and Lisa
  • Jake and The Neverland Pirates (based on the characters of Peter Pan)
  • Octonauts
  • 3rd & Bird
  • Tinga Tinga Tales
  • One Hundred and One Dalmatians: The Series (once weekly repeats, originally seen as part of the Disney Afternoon, only lasted a couple of months before being removed. The show wasn't a preschool show, anyway. The program later began airing in weekday repeats on the 24/7 Disney Junior network, though unfortunately they seem to have only a very limited library of episodes.)

Animated shows airing only on the 24/7 Disney Junior channel[edit | hide]

Animated shows in the "Playhouse Disney" block only[1]

Live-action / puppetry shows in the "Playhouse Disney" block[edit | hide]

Live-action / puppetry shows in both the "Playhouse Disney" and "Disney Junior" blocks[edit | hide]

Also, at least six The Disney Afternoon series which were made for syndication were "previewed" on The Disney Channel[edit | hide]

Well known Disney Channel Original Movies[edit | hide]

Other Disney Channel Original Movies[edit | hide]

Among the popular celebrities who gained fame through this channel[edit | hide]

  1. Some are now seen in repeats on the 24/7 Disney Junior network