The Disney Channel was launched on April 18, 1983 and is available to view on cable and satellite across the United States. The channel shows a variety of different programs aimed at children of all ages. The network is part of the Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group.
The network started by broadcasting just 18 hours a day, and would begin each morning by broadcasting a rerun of the Disney classic Mickey Mouse Club
. The evening lineup included such golden oldies as The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
and Zorro. They also aired a few foreign series as Asterix
and Five Mile Creek
during the evening hours. In 1984, Disney created Kids Incorporated
, a highly popular show about teens who formed a singing act. This series would star a number of later-stars such as Scott Wolf, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Martika and Stacy Ferguson, who went on to be known simply as Fergie. In November 1988, they added a new sitcom to their lineup called Good Morning, Miss Bliss
. This was a flop on the Disney channel and was reworked and moved to NBC as Saved by the Bell
in 1989. Also that year Disney would remake one of their all-time classic shows for the channel, The All-New Mickey Mouse Club
which was include a young Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as cast members.
In 1997, Disney would drop from a premium network to a basic cable station and would chop their programming day into three blocks. Playhouse Disney, which was geared towards preschoolers, Vault Disney which would include many of their old classic series, and Zoog Disney, aimed towards teens and would be broadcast in the prime time hours. In 2002, Zoog was dropped and the Vault was closed as Disney went in a new direction. Coincidently, this was also the beginning of a ratings boost. New first-run series such Lizzie McGuire
, Even Stevens
, That's So Raven
and Kim Possible
were added to the lineup and helped issue in a new era at the Disney Channel, which would include success for the first time in its run.