Playhouse Disney
Final logo used from May 10, 2010 to February 13, 2011.
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersBurbank, California, United States
Programming
Language(s)English
Spanish (via SAP audio track)
Ownership
ParentDisney Channels Worldwide
(The Walt Disney Company)
Sister channelsDisney Channel
Disney XD
Toon Disney
History
LaunchedOctober 20, 1997; 26 years ago (1997-10-20) (as Disney Channel Little Kids)
February 1, 1999; 24 years ago (1999-02-01) (as Playhouse Disney)
ClosedFebruary 14, 2011; 12 years ago (2011-02-14)
(replaced by Disney Junior)
2011–2013 (International)
Former namesDisney Channel Little Kids (1997–1999)
Links
Websitetv.disney.go.com/playhouse (Redirects to Disney NOW)

Playhouse Disney was a brand of programming blocks and international cable and satellite television channels that were owned by the Disney Channels Worldwide unit (now Disney Branded Television) of The Walt Disney Company's Disney–ABC Television Group. It originated in the United States as a morning program block on the Disney Channel. Aimed mainly at children at two to five years of age,[1] its programming featured a mix of live-action and animated series.

The Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel was rebranded as the Disney Junior block on Disney Channel on February 14, 2011. The remaining channels and blocks using the Playhouse Disney brand outside the US relaunched under the Disney Junior brand over the next three years, concluding with the rebranding of the Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel Russia on September 1, 2013.

History

Early years (1997–2002)

Logo used from February 1, 1999 to September 29, 2002

Prior to Playhouse Disney's launch, Disney Channel had aired a lineup of preschool-targeted programs to compete with Nick Jr. (which were mixed alongside animated series aimed at older children) during the morning hours since its debut in April 1983.

On April 6, 1997, Disney Channel underwent a relaunch that signified the beginning of its full conversion into a commercial-free basic cable channel, and its preschool block now utilized a similar graphics package for its promotions as that used for the channel's afternoon children's programs. After Disney Channel's preschool block premiered three new original series in 1998 (PB&J Otter, Rolie Polie Olie (produced by Nelvana), and Out of the Box), the block officially launched as Playhouse Disney on February 1, 1999.

One of Playhouse Disney's most popular series was Bear in the Big Blue House, which debuted on October 20, 1997; the series was named by TV Guide as one of the "top 10 new shows for kids" that year.[2]

For the first three years of its run, the Playhouse Disney block originally aired each weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, and weekends from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Following each program, which usually ran 23 minutes (most of which, except for films, aired without promotional interruption), the remainder of the time period was filled by either short segments and music videos (the latter of which were originally aired under the banner "Feet Beat") or an episode of an acquired short series.

On April 16, 2001, Playhouse Disney received a new rebrand produced by motion graphics company Beehive;[3] actress Allyce Beasley began serving as the U.S. block's promo announcer at this time, a capacity she would hold until March 30, 2007, being replaced by Margit Furseth. Playhouse Disney also premiered two new original series in 2001 (Stanley and The Book of Pooh). Radio Disney cross-promoted the block by rebranding its "Mickey and Minnie's Tune Time" block as "Playhouse Disney", and in 2002, the TV block's "Feet Beat" interstitials were renamed "BB's Music Time" to promote the Radio Disney block. On June 25, 2001, Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group (now Disney-ABC Television Group) announced plans to launch Playhouse Disney Channel, a companion digital cable and satellite channel that would have served the same target audience as the Disney Channel block;[4][5] plans for the network were later scrapped, although Disney-ABC International Television would launch dedicated Playhouse Disney channels and blocks in international markets (including Canada, Afro-Eurasia and Latin America) between 2002 and 2007. The Walt Disney Company acquired the broadcast rights to The Wiggles as part of their purchase of the Fox Family Channel in 2001; The Wiggles moved to Playhouse Disney in June 2002 and became one of the block's most watched shows during its run.

Marketing expansion (2002–2011)

Like Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney was a commercial-free service, but it did show short "promotional spots" (structured as short-form segments for Disney products targeted at the block's demographics) alongside – beginning in 2002 – underwriter sponsorships (with companies such as McDonald's[6]) within breaks between programs[7] (preschool-targeted programs that aired between 3:00 and 7:00 a.m. Central Time outside of the Playhouse Disney banner, included the promotional shorts for Disney entertainment products that were seen during Disney Channel's afternoon and nighttime schedule). On September 30, 2002, Playhouse Disney changed its logo to reflect Disney Channel's on-air rebranding. As part of the block's effort to phase out its older interstitial material, it introduced a mascot that month named Clay (voiced by Debi Derryberry), an anthropomorphic clay figure who often used the catchphrases "It's true!" and "Are you with me?"

On March 31, 2007, Ooh and Aah, two puppet monkeys (who served as the main characters for one of the short series featured on the Playhouse Disney lineup, Ooh, Aah & You) became the official hosts of the block, replacing Clay. Every summer since 2007, Playhouse Disney's end time was truncated to four hours on weekdays (from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time). Episodes from Disney Channel's original series were aired during the late morning and early afternoon hours. However, the weekend schedule continued to air for seven hours. By this point, the Playhouse Disney block had expanded to air from 4:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on weekdays, and 4:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on weekends, each running a different schedule.

Rebranding as Disney Junior

See also: Disney Junior

On May 26, 2010, Disney-ABC Television Group announced the launch of Disney Junior, a relaunching of Playhouse Disney that would serve as the brand for the Disney Channel block and a new standalone digital cable and satellite channel in the United States, as well as the new brand for the existing Playhouse Disney-branded cable channels and program blocks outside the US.[8][9] The Playhouse Disney block ended its 14-year run on February 13, 2011, with the last program to air being an episode of the short series Handy Manny's School for Tools at 8:55 a.m. Eastern Time.

The Disney Junior block debuted on February 14, 2011,[10] with the Little Einsteins episode “Fire Truck Rocket” as its first program.[11][12][13][failed verification] Several former Playhouse Disney series were carried over to the relaunched block including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso, Imagination Movers, Handy Manny, and Little Einsteins. With the relaunch of the block, the block's mascots Ooh and Aah were retired and several of its older programs were entirely discontinued (however, Ooh and Aah & You was later briefly available on the Disney Junior website as a part of the Fan Favorites week of July 18, 2011 and was also later carried in reruns on the Disney Junior cable channel). Additionally, its episodes are available on Disney Junior's YouTube channel as of January 6, 2011.

The 24-hour Disney Junior cable channel debuted on March 23, 2012, with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode "Mickey's Big Surprise" as its first program, mainly featuring a mix of original series and programs held over from the Playhouse Disney library (which largely aired as part of the channel's overnight schedule until mid-2014 when over time, more Playhouse Disney shows were taken off the air completely after premiering their series finales and ceased to air in reruns).[9][14] Disney Junior took over the channel space held by the Disney-owned soap opera-focused channel Soapnet, largely due to that channel's existing subscriber reach (being carried in 75 million households with pay television). An automated Soapnet feed remained in operation for providers that did not yet reach agreements to carry the Disney Junior channel or providers that were required to continue carrying Soapnet in addition to Disney Junior[15][16] until Soapnet fully ceased operations by going quietly dark on December 31, 2013, at 11:59 pm, following the last program to air being an episode of General Hospital.[17]

Programming

Final programming

Original programming

Title First air date Last air date Source(s) Note(s)
Little Einsteins October 9, 2005 February 13, 2011 The show ended on December 22, 2009, but continued to air reruns on Playhouse Disney until February 13, 2011.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse May 5, 2006
Handy Manny September 16, 2006
My Friends Tigger & Pooh May 12, 2007 [18] The show ended on October 9, 2010, but continued to air reruns on Playhouse Disney until February 13, 2011.
Imagination Movers September 6, 2008
Special Agent Oso April 4, 2009
Jungle Junction October 5, 2009

Acquired programming

Title First air date Last air date Source(s) Note(s)
Charlie and Lola March 21, 2005 February 13, 2011
Chuggington January 18, 2010
Timmy Time September 13, 2010 February 11, 2011 [19][20]

Interstitial programming

Title First air date Last air date Source(s)
Shanna's Show 2003 2011
Choo Choo Soul May 1, 2006 2011
Lou and Lou: Safety Patrol June 16, 2006 2011
Happy Monster Band October 1, 2007 2011
Go, Baby! January 3, 2005 2011
Ooh, Aah & You July 15, 2005 2011
Shane's Kindergarten Countdown June 20, 2005 2011
Can You Teach My Alligator Manners? June 21, 2008 2011
Tasty Time with ZeFronk November 8, 2008 2011
Whiffle and Fuzz 2008 2011
Where Is Warehouse Mouse? August 24, 2009 2011
Dance-A-Lot Robot February 27, 2010 2011
Handy Manny's School for Tools January 25, 2010 2011

Former programming

Original programming

Title First air date Last air date Source(s)
Bear in the Big Blue House[note 1] October 25, 1997 May 5, 2007 [22]
PB&J Otter March 21, 1998 June 24, 2006
Rolie Polie Olie[a] October 3, 1998 December 30, 2006
Out of the Box October 10, 1998 June 24, 2006
The Book of Pooh January 27, 2001 June 24, 2006
Stanley September 15, 2001 May 31, 2008 [23]
JoJo's Circus September 20, 2003 June 28, 2008 [24]
Higglytown Heroes September 11, 2004 March 28, 2009 [25]
Johnny and the Sprites October 15, 2005 February 28, 2009 [24]

Acquired programming

Title First air date Last air date Source(s)
TaleSpin April 6, 1997 October 2, 1998
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers August 29, 1999
Amazing Animals[a] January 2, 2000
The Little Mermaid April 7, 1997 September 29, 2002
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh August 1, 2006
Adventures in Wonderland June 5, 1998
Katie and Orbie June 2, 1997 December 31, 1999
Madeline September 4, 2005
Jungle Cubs September 15, 1997 September 3, 2000
101 Dalmatians: The Series October 5, 1998 July 16, 1999
Sing Me a Story with Belle September 3, 2000
Rupert September 4, 2000 January 2001
The Wiggles January 28, 2002 May 24, 2009 [26][27]
Anatole September 17, 2002 September 13, 2004
The Koala Brothers January 26, 2004 May 16, 2008 [23]
The Doodlebops April 11, 2005 January 2, 2009 [24]

Interstitial programming

Programming blocks

Final

Former

International

On September 28, 1999, the Playhouse Disney brand was extended internationally with the launch of a self-branded block on Disney Channel in the United Kingdom and Ireland. On September 29, 2000, Disney Television International expanded the block with the launch of a channel in the country alongside the launch of Toon Disney and Disney Channel +1 on the Sky Digital platform.[28] On April 4, 2009, Egmont Group launched a companion Playhouse Disney magazine in the United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland that focused on the channel's four most popular shows: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, My Friends Tigger & Pooh, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins. Each issue included "to do" pages and suggested activities for parents and children based on an educational theme. The Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel UK & Republic of Ireland was eventually disposed of in July 2004 after reducing hours of programming.[29] The Playhouse Disney channel available there, however, continued to air until it was replaced by Disney Junior on May 7, 2011.[30]

On November 30, 2007, Astral Media launched a Canadian version of Playhouse Disney Channel under a brand licensing agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group; the channel operated as a multiplex channel of Family Channel, which had long maintained a programming distribution agreement with Disney Channel for the domestic rights to the U.S. channel's series until January 2016. A Canadian-French version of Playhouse Disney was launched on July 5, 2010, also by Astral Media. The English & Canadian-French channels were both replaced by Disney Junior on May 6, 2011.[31]

List of international channels and blocks

Market Type Formerly Launch date Replaced by Replaced date
 United Kingdom[32] Channel Block on Disney Channel September 29, 2000 Disney Junior May 7, 2011[30]
+1 timeshift channel November 3, 2007[33] Disney Junior +1
Block on ABC1 Summer 2006[34] September 26, 2007[35]
 United States Block on Disney Channel February 1, 1999[5] Disney Junior February 14, 2011[36]
 Spain Channel November 16, 2001[37] June 11, 2011[32]
 Israel Block on Disney Channel[38] 2009 July 18, 2011
 Greece Block on ERT2 2004 2009
Channel Jetix Play September 1, 2010 Disney Junior June 1, 2011
Middle East & North Africa
Block 2004
 South Africa Channel 2010
 Russia Block on Disney Channel August 10, 2010 September 1, 2013
 Romania Block September 19, 2009 June 1, 2011
Southeast Asia 2000[39] July 11, 2011[40]
 Australia Block on Seven Network 2003[41] 2008
Block on Disney Channel[42] Disney Junior May 29, 2011
Channel December 2005[42] May 29, 2011[43]
 France[32] November 2, 2002 May 28, 2011[44]
HD simulcast channel 2009
Block[45] 2002
 Taiwan Block 2004 September 1, 2011
 Japan July 3, 2011
 Hong Kong Channel April 2, 2004[46][47] July 11, 2011[48]
 Malaysia July 3, 2004[49]
 Singapore May 15, 2004[50]
 Indonesia April 2, 2004[47]
 Germany November 10, 2004[51] July 14, 2011[32]
 Thailand January 2005[52] July 11, 2011[40]
 Cambodia June 20, 2005[53]
 Vietnam May 2005[54][55]
 Philippines December 2005[56][57]
 South Korea June 12, 2004[58]
 India Block on Disney Channel 2006[59] 2011
 Argentina Block on an El Trece channel 2007[60]
Scandinavia Block 2004 Disney Junior September 10, 2011
 Sweden Channel 2007
 Norway 2006
 Denmark
 Finland
 Iceland
 Canada
(operated by Astral Media)[61]
November 30, 2007[31] May 6, 2011[62]
French language channel
(Playhouse Disney Télé)
July 5, 2010[63] Disney Junior
Latin America Channel (two feeds) June 1, 2008[64] April 1, 2011[65]
Channel (Brazil) September 5, 2008[66]
 Portugal Block on Disney Channel November 28, 2001 June 1, 2011
Central & Eastern Europe Channel Jetix Play 2010[citation needed] June 2011
Block September 19, 2009
 Poland Channel September 1, 2010[67] 2011[32]
 Czech Republic
 Slovakia
Block[68] 2010 June 1, 2011
 Italy[32][69] Channel May 1, 2005 May 14, 2011
+1 timeshift channel July 31, 2009 Disney Junior +1 2011
 Turkey Channel Jetix Play September 1, 2010 Disney Junior 2011
 Netherlands
 Belgium
May 3, 2010[70] Disney Junior September 10, 2011[71]
Block on Disney Channel

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Walt Disney Company acquired Bear in the Big Blue House from The Jim Henson Company in 2004.[21] The transaction included all of the series' characters, television library, copyrights and trademarks.

References

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  1. ^ a b Co-production.