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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Disney Channel is a cable TV network run by The Walt Disney Company. Disney Channel features family-oriented programming, much of it aimed at pre-teens and young adolescents.
Launched on April 18, 1983 as a commercial-free premium channel (with occasional free previews) , 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.)
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 are also featured on the show House of Mouse, which airs every weekday at 2:00 PM E/P on the channel.
In 1997, Disney Channel took on a revamped look and they drop the "The" in the networks name, and splitting 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)—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 begin to carry break interuptions (not advertising commercials, but promos from the network).
In January of 2000, Disney Channel moved from premium cable to basic cable, and some design elements also changed. 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 remains undefeated to this day as the highest-rating program the network has produced. 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.
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.
Today's Disney Channel runs original programming such as That's So Raven, Phil of the Future, Lizzie McGuire and Kim Possible (which have been shown on ABC after debuting on the Disney Channel), along with former ABC sitcoms such as Boy Meets World. Other shows aired by Disney Channel include The Proud Family, Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, American Dragon: Jake Long, Lilo & Stitch: The Series and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Additionally, a movie is broadcast almost every night, but not necessarily a theatrically released feature film. The Disney Channel airs new made-for-TV movies about 12 times a year, and those are frequently broadcast during that timeslot. 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.
Preschool programming is still a part of the Disney Channel's morning schedule and includes Rolie Polie Olie, PB&J Otter, and The Book of Pooh and JoJo's Circus.