|Launched||February 14, 2011
(as a programming block on Disney Channel)
March 23, 2012
(as a television channel)
|Owned by||Disney Channels Worldwide
(Disney–ABC Television Group)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)
|Slogan||Where the Magic Begins|
Spanish (via SAP audio track)
|Replaced||Playhouse Disney (1997–2011)|
|Sister channel(s)||Disney Channel
|Timeshift service||Disney Junior +1|
|Dish Network||168 (SD)|
|C-Band||AMC 11 – Channel 44 (4DTV Digital)
AMC 18 – Channel 12 (H2H 4DTV)
|Available on most U.S. cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|Verizon FiOS||260 (SD)|
|AT&T U-verse||306 (SD)
Disney Junior is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by the Disney Channels Worldwide unit of the Disney–ABC Television Group, itself a unit of the Disney Media Networks division of the The Walt Disney Company. Aimed mainly at children between 2 and 9 years of age, its programming consists of original first-run television series, theatrically-released and made-for-DVD movies and select other third-party programming.
Disney Junior also lends its name to a morning and early afternoon program block seen on sister network Disney Channel, branded as "Disney Junior on Disney Channel", airing Monday through Fridays from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (6:00 to 10:30 a.m. during the summer months and designated school break periods) and weekends from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.
The Walt Disney Company first attempted to launch a 24-hour cable channel for preschoolers in the United States in 2001, when the company announced plans to launch the Playhouse Disney Channel, a television offshoot of Disney Channel's daytime programming block Playhouse Disney, which debuted on the channel on May 8, 1997 (airing during the morning hours seven days a week, with the Monday through Friday blocks lasting until the early afternoon). Plans for the United States network were ultimately shelved, however dedicated Playhouse Disney Channels were launched in other countries internationally.
The development of Disney Junior began on May 26, 2010, when Disney-ABC Television Group announced the launch of the channel as a digital cable and satellite service, which would compete with other cable channels targeted primarily at preschool-aged children such as Nick Jr., Qubo and PBS Kids Sprout; in addition, the Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel would also be renamed under the Disney Junior banner, prior to the launch of the channel of the same name. The announcement also called for the 22 existing programming blocks and cable channels outside of the United States bearing the Playhouse Disney name being rebranded as Disney Junior.
The flagship cable channel in the United States intended to replace Soapnet, a Disney-owned cable channel featuring daytime soap operas seen on the major broadcast networks (including sister network ABC) and reruns of former primetime drama series, due to the continued decline in popularity and quantity of soap operas on broadcast television, along the growth of video on demand services (including the online streaming availability for soap operas) and digital video recorders that negated the need for a linear channel devoted to the genre.
Disney Junior first launched as a programming block on the Disney Channel on February 14, 2011. With the discontinuance of Playhouse Disney the day prior, the block's mascots Ooh and Aah were retired and some programs featured on the block (such as My Friends Tigger and Pooh) were dropped from Disney Channel's schedule entirely.
The Disney Junior channel was originally slated to debut in January 2012, but on July 28, 2011, the Disney-ABC Television Group pushed back the launch date from January to an unspecified date in late spring 2012, then setting the channel's launch date to February. On January 9, 2012, Disney-ABC Television Group announced that Soapnet's shutdown date for most providers was scheduled for March 22, 2012. Disney Junior's 24-hour cable channel counterpart officially launched the following day on March 23, at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode "Mickey's Big Surprise" as the first program to air on the channel. Programming featured on the channel's initial lineup included Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and freshman original series Doc McStuffins; the channel also launched a new short-form series A Poem Is… as well as the weekend movie block, the Magical World of Disney Junior.
Though it in effect took over the channel space held by Soapnet, an automated feed of that channel continued to exist for providers that had not yet reached agreements to carry Disney Junior (similar to other automated channel feeds that continued to operate during the transitions of Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids to TeenNick and Fox Reality Channel to Nat Geo Wild), or held out so as to not lose subscribers due to the immediate loss of that network. These included some providers such as Cox Communications, Cablevision, DirecTV and Verizon FiOS, which continued to carry Soapnet while having added the Disney Junior channel onto their channel lineups in turn. Soapnet's operations continued sixteen months later than had been originally planned, until the network officially shut down on December 31, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
On June 21, 2014, Disney Junior began programming the first two hours of Univision's three-hour Saturday morning children's block Planeta U, as part of a sub-block called "Disney Junior en Univision", featuring Spanish dubs of the network's original series (beginning with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Handy Manny, the latter program's dub of which includes basic instruction of words and phrases in English instead of in Spanish, as with the English version).
Since its launch, Disney Junior became initially available to subscribers of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS; Other providers would sign carriage agreements to run the network following its launch:
- On March 26, 2012, Cox Communications announced that it would carry Disney Junior, as part of the provider's "Variety Pak" package.
- On April 3, 2012, Disney–ABC Television Group announced that it had reached a distribution agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative to carry Disney Junior, which was expected to be carried on more than 950 independent cable companies in the 90 days following the agreement.
- Cable One added the network to the digital tier of its systems around May 26, 2012.
- On June 21, 2012, RCN began carrying the network on its systems.
- On July 13, 2012, DirecTV announced that the Disney Junior network would be added to its lineup the following day. Industry observers questioned both the unexpected announcement and untraditional weekend launch of the network as being timed to a nine-day carriage dispute between DirecTV and Viacom and the loss of Nick Jr. four days previously as a result of the dispute.
- On December 31, 2012, Charter Communications came to terms with Disney–ABC Television Group on a new wide-ranging multiple year carriage agreement for ABC, all of the U.S.-based Disney Channels Worldwide and ESPN networks and ABC Family, which included the addition of Disney Junior to Charter systems throughout the first quarter of 2013.
- On January 15, 2013, AT&T U-verse also reached a deal with The Walt Disney Company on a new wide-ranging multi-year agreement to carry the Disney–ABC Television Group family of networks and ESPN, which included the addition of Disney Junior.
- Dish Network, the last major television provider to have not signed a carriage deal for Disney Junior, added the channel on April 10, 2014; after a long period of acrimony and a six-month extension of their past carriage agreement with The Walt Disney Company for a few select networks (some of which were not available in HD, partly as a result of a 2011 dispute with the company), Dish and Disney came to full terms on carrying all of Disney-ABC's networks in both standard and high definition on March 3, 2014 with the resolution of legal issues involving Dish's Hopper DVR system (a deal that also gave Dish Network the rights to stream the linear channels on a proposed online-only pay television service).
Programming on the Disney Junior channel includes original series (such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First), shows formerly seen on the now-defunct Playhouse Disney block (such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Special Agent Oso) – including some that also air on the companion Disney Channel morning block and short-form series, as well as reruns of some older animated series that had previously been seen on sister network ABC, CBS (made prior to 1996) and programs from Disney Channel and Toon Disney, which are aired by the channel by popular demand (especially during the overnight graveyard slots).
The network also airs classic animated films that were released theatrically by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (including Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar), along with Disney's direct-to-video sequels and original preschool projects with movie-length features, under two brandings: The Magical World of Disney Junior on weekends, and the more generalized Disney Junior Movie at most other times, which features a broader selection of films.
- Disney Junior Night Light – Disney Junior Night Light is the Disney Junior channel's overnight programming block, running daily from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. The block, which debuted on September 4, 2012 and is sponsored by Babble (under a similar underwriter sponsorship agreement as that regularly used by Disney Channel, which, like Disney Junior, operates as a commercial-free service), consists of short-form programs intended for co-viewing among parents and their children. Features seen as part of the block include Picture This (which presents sketches of Disney characters being drawn), DJ Tales (a segment featuring costumed finger puppets with twists on traditional fairy tales) and That's Fresh (a segment featuring cooking tips aimed at moms, presented by celebrity chef Helen Cavallo). Additional series under development at the block's launch included a photography series, a series that follows parents through the day their new baby comes home after being born, and a show about stay-at-home dads.
|Disney Junior HD||Disney Junior HD is a high definition simulcast of the Disney Junior channel that broadcasts in the 720p resolution format (the recommended HD format for the Disney-ABC Television Group's broadcast and cable properties). It launched with the standard-definition feed of the channel on March 23, 2012 on select Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cablevision and Verizon FIOS systems; the HD feed was later added on Comcast. DirecTV began carrying Disney Junior's HD feed on August 15, 2012.|
|Disney Junior On Demand||Disney Junior On Demand is the cable channel's video-on-demand service, offering select episodes of Disney Junior's original series. It is available to most digital cable and IPTV providers that carry the network.|
|WATCH Disney Junior||WATCH Disney Junior is a website for desktop computers, as well as an application for smartphones and tablet computers that allows subscribers of participating cable and satellite providers (such as Comcast Xfinity and Cox Communications) to watch Disney Junior's programming via live stream and on-demand access on computers and mobile devices via their TV Everywhere login provided by their cable provider; the service is also available through Apple TV and Roku streaming players. Individual episodes of the channel's series, along with additional content such as behind-the-scenes features also are available.|
List of Disney Junior versions
|UK||Junior||channel||Playhouse||May 7, 2011|
|Junior +1||channel, time shift||Playhouse +1|
|USA||Junior||block on Disney||Playhouse||February 14, 2011|
|Latin America||Junior||channel (3 feeds)||Playhouse||April 1, 2011|
|Junior||channel||Playhouse||May 6, 2011|
|Junior||channel, French||Playhouse Disney Télé|
|Australia||Junior||channel||Playhouse||May 29, 2011 |
|South Africa||Junior||channel||June 1, 2011|
|Asia||Junior||block||Playhouse||July 11, 2011|
|Hong Kong||Junior||channel||Playhouse||July 11, 2011|
|Portugal||Junior||channel||Cinemagic||November 1, 2012|
|India||Junior||block on Disney (1.45 Hr.)||Playhouse||2011|
|Junior +1||channel, time shift||Playhouse +1||2011|
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- Disney Junior will Launch Saturday, July 14 to Millions of DIRECTV Customers Nationwide
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- "Disney Junior launches in SA". Channel24 (24.com). June 1, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
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- "Magical, musical stories on all-new Disney Junior". philstar.com. June 30, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
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- Ball, Ryan (June 20, 2005). "Disney Channels Swim to Cambodia". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
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