|Launched||May 8, 1997|
|Closed||February 13, 2011|
|Owned by||Disney Channels Worldwide
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)
|Country||United States (as a programming block)
Worldwide (as either a programming block or standalone channel)
|Replaced||Jetix Play (standalone channel; certain international countries)|
|Replaced by||Disney Junior|
|Sister channel(s)||Disney Channel
|Timeshift service||Playhouse Disney +1 (Europe)|
Playhouse Disney is a defunct brand for a slate of programming blocks and international cable and satellite television channel that was owned by the Disney Channels Worldwide unit of the Disney–ABC Television Group, itself a unit of the The Walt Disney Company. Originated in the United States as a morning program block on the Disney Channel, its programming targeted at children ages 3–10, featuring a mix of live-action and animated series. The Playhouse Disney block on Disney Channel was relaunched as Disney Junior on February 14, 2011. The 22 cable channels and blocks using the Playhouse Disney brand around the world were relaunched under the Disney Junior brand over the next two years, concluding with the rebranding of the Russian channel in September 2013.
Playhouse Disney originated on May 8, 1997 as a daily morning program block for preschoolers on Disney Channel (debuting just over one month after the channel's relaunch that signified the beginning of its full conversion into a commercial-free basic cable channel), utilizing a similar graphics package for its promotions as that used for the channel's afternoon children's programs. Prior to the block's launch, Disney Channel had aired a lineup of preschool-targeted programs (which were mixed alongside animated series aimed at older children) during the morning hours since its debut in April 1983. A stylized version of Disney Channel's "Mickey Mouse TV" logo of the time period for the block (featuring a green paint-style background overlaid by a multicolored "playhouse" titling) was introduced in the summer of 1999, with the introduction of new graphics for the block.
One of the Playhouse Disney block's most popular series was Bear in the Big Blue House, an educational live-action series from Jim Henson Productions that debuted in October 1997, focusing on the adventures of an anthopomophic bear (voiced by Noel MacNeal); the series was named by TV Guide as one of the "top 10 new shows for kids" that year. For the first three years of its run, the Playhouse Disney block originally aired each weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and weekends from 6:00 to 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Following each program, which usually ran 22 minutes (most of which, with the exception of movies, aired without promotional interruption), the remainder of the time period was filled by blocks of either short segments or music videos (the latter of which were originally aired under the banner "Feet Beat").
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; plans for the network were later scrapped, although Disney-ABC International Television would launch dedicated Playhouse Disney Channels in international markets (including Canada and Latin America) between 2002 and 2007. On July 12, 2001, Playhouse Disney introduced a new on-air graphics package produced by Beehive; actress Allyce Beasley began serving as the U.S. block's promo announcer at this time, a capacity she would hold until 2007. Coinciding with Disney Channel's on-air rebranding, on October 7, 2002, the block introduced a stylized version of Disney Channel's logo (designed by CA Square, and featuring an outline of Mickey Mouse's head as its centerpiece), as well as a mascot named Clay, an anthropomophic clay figure who often used the catchphrases "It's true!" and "Are you with me?"
On March 31, 2007, Clay was replaced by two anthropomorphic monkey puppets as the block's hosts, Ooh and Aah (who served as the main characters for one of the short series featured on the Playhouse Disney lineup, Ooh, Aah & You). Beginning in 2007, Disney Channel began truncating the weekday block to four hours (from 5:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time) during the summer months, in order to air episodes of Disney Channel original series during the late morning and early afternoon hours; however, the weekend schedule continued to air as a seven-hour block. 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.
As with Disney Channel, the block generally aired commercial-free, though short "promotional spots" (structured as short-form segments for Disney products targeted at the block's demographics) as well as – beginning in 2002 – underwriter sponsorships (with companies such as McDonalds) did run within breaks between programs (preschool-targeted programs that aired between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. Eastern 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 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 22 existing Playhouse Disney-branded cable channels and program blocks worldwide. 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 1:55 p.m. Eastern Time.
The Disney Junior block debuted on February 14, 2011 at 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time, with the Little Einsteins episode "Fire Truck Rocket" as its first program. 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 Ooh and Aah mascots were retired (however, Ooh and Aah & You was later carried on the Disney Junior cable channel).
The 24-hour cable channel debuted on March 23, 2012, 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 2013). 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 until Soapnet fully ceased operations on December 31, 2013.
The list below pertains to programs aired on the U.S. block on Disney Channel.
- Bear in the Big Blue House (1997–2007)
- PB&J Otter (1998–2005)
- Rolie Polie Olie (1998–2007)
- Out of the Box (1998–2005)
- Animal Stories (1999–2002)
- The Book of Pooh (2001–2003)
- Stanley (2001–2008)
- The Wiggles (2002–2009)
- JoJo's Circus (2003–2008)
- The Koala Brothers (2003-2007)
- Higglytown Heroes (2004–2009)
- Breakfast with Bear (2005–2006)
- The Doodlebops (2005–2009)
- Johnny and the Sprites (2005–2009)
- The Koala Brothers (2004–2008)
- My Friends Tigger & Pooh (2007–2010)
- Bunnytown (2007–2008)
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (2006–2011)
- Charlie and Lola (2007–2011)
- Special Agent Oso (2009–2011)
- Chuggington (2010–2011)
- Little Einsteins (2005–2011)
- Bunnytown (2007–2011)
- Imagination Movers (2008–2011)
- Jungle Junction (2009–2011)
- Handy Manny (2006–2011)
- Katie and Orbie (1997–2000)
- The Little Mermaid (1997–2002)
- Madeline (1999–2005)
- Muppet Babies (1997–2002)
- The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1997–2006)
- Spot the Dog (1997–2005)
- Darren and the Magic Key (1998–2006)
- Darren and Friends (1997–2004)
In 2000, Disney Television International launched the first international Playhouse Disney Channel in the United Kingdom; it broadcast for 15 hours a day, alongside Toon Disney and Disney Channel +1 on the Sky Digital platform. On April 4, 2009, Egmont Group launched a companion Playhouse Disney magazine in the United Kingdom 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.
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 operates as a multiplex channel of Family Channel, which has long maintained a programming distribution agreement with Disney Channel for the domestic rights to the U.S. channel's series.
List of international channels and blocks
|Market||Type||Formerly||Launch date||Replaced by||Replaced date|
|United Kingdom||Channel||2000||Disney Junior||May 7, 2011|
|+1 Timeshift channel||November 3, 2007||Disney Junior +1|
|United States||Block on Disney||2000||Disney Junior||February 14, 2011|
|Spain||Channel||2001||Disney Junior||June 2011|
|Asia||Block||Disney Junior||July 11, 2011|
|Australia||Block on Seven Network||2003|
|Block on Disney Channel|
|Channel||December 2005||Disney Junior||May 29, 2011|
|HD simulcast channel||2009||Disney Junior||2011|
|Hong Kong||Channel||April 2, 2004||Disney Junior||July 11, 2011|
|Singapore||Channel||2004||Disney Junior||July 11, 2011|
|Indonesia||Channel||2004||Disney Junior||July 11, 2011|
|North Korea||Channel||June 12, 2004||Disney Junior||July 11, 2011|
|Germany||Channel||November 2004||Disney Junior||2011|
|Thailand||Channel||January 2005||Junior||July 11, 2011|
|Cambodia||Channel||June 20, 2005|
|New Zealand||Channel||December 24, 2005||Disney Junior||May 29, 2011 |
|South Korea||Channel||May 2006||Disney Junior||July 11, 2011|
|India||Block on Disney Channel||2006||Disney Junior block||2011|
|Argentina||Block on an Artear channel||2007|
(operated by Astral Media)
|Channel||November 30, 2007||Disney Junior May 6, 2011|
|French language channel
(Playhouse Disney Télé)
|July 5, 2010||Disney Junior|
|Latin America||Channel (three feeds)||June 1, 2008||Disney Junior||April 1, 2011|
|Central and Eastern Europe||Channel||Jetix Play||2010||Disney Junior UK|
|Poland||Channel||July 2010||Disney Junior||2010|
| Czech Republic
|Channel||2010||Disney Junior UK|
|+1 Timeshift channel||Disney Junior +1||2011|
- "Go Go Go Go Go Go Go Go!" (May 8, 1997 – September 2, 2001)
- "Where Learning is Powered by Imagination" (January 1999–September 1, 2002)
- "Imagine and Learn" (September 2, 2002 – February 13, 2011)
- Nick Jr. – a preschool-targeted digital cable and satellite network that originated as a program block on Nickelodeon from 1988 to 2009.
- Sprout – a digital cable and satellite network featuring preschool-oriented programs mainly sourced from the PBS library as well as original series.
- "A Salute to Disney Channel: Disney Channel time line". KidScreen.com. April 1, 1998. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
- Play nice now; Walt Disney Co. plans to introduce Playhouse Disney Channel, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), June 25, 2001.
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- "Playhouse Disney schedule". Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- PreSchool Programs Replace SOAPnet, The New York Times, May 27, 2010.
- SOAPnet Will Go Dark to Make Way for Disney Junior, Entertainment Weekly, May 26, 2010.
- Disney Junior acing frosh year, Variety, September 26, 2011
- "Doc McStuffins" Set for Disney, Variety, June 24, 2010/
- Disney Junior to Debut In February 2011 on Disney Channel, TV by the Numbers, November 5, 2010.
- Disney Junior Shifts Focus Away From Educational Programming, The Hollywood Reporter, November 4, 2010.
- Disney Junior to Replace SOAPnet in 2012, Deadline.com, May 26, 2010.
- Schneider, Michael (January 9, 2012). "Disney Junior to replace Soapnet in March". TV Guide. Retrieved January 9, 2012.
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- "Disney launches new channels". Brand Republic (Haymarket Media Group Ltd.). MediaWeek. September 13, 2000. Archived from the original on September 13, 2000. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
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- "Astral Media dominates Canada". Variety. December 7, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "TV Channel: Disney Junior". MAVISE Database. European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved July 20, 2014.
- "Disney Junior sets U.K. launch". Variety (London). January 27, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- West, Dave (Oct 26, 2007). "Playhouse Disney gets staggercast". Digital Spy (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved July 20, 2014.
- "Disney Junior to launch on Valentine’s Day". Variety. January 11, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- Boehm, Erich (April 15, 2002). "Mouse picks up kidvid series, movies". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "Magical, musical stories on all-new Disney Junior". philstar.com. June 30, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- Waller, Ed (October 9, 2002). "Blocks and packages for Buena Vista Asia-Pacific". C21 Media. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- "Playhouse Disney channel on Foxtel". Variety. September 22, 2005. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- Bulbeck, Pip (April 1, 2011). "Walt Disney Rebranding Preschool Channel as Disney Junior in Australia and New Zealand". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- "Disney, Playhouse Hit Hong Kong". Multichannel (NewBay Media, LLC.). March 3, 2004. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- Chung, Barry (July 10, 2011). "A brand new home for Mickey and Co". South China Morning Post. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- Esposito, Maria (June 8, 2004). "Korean debut for Disney Playhouse". C21 Media. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- "Ready, willing ‘n’ cable". Variety. October 24, 2004. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- Whiteman, Bobbie (January 25, 2005). "Disney, Playhouse bow in Thailand". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- Ball, Ryan (June 20, 2005). "Disney Channels Swim to Cambodia". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
- "Mickey follows Ho Chi Minh trail". C21 Media. February 1, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
- Osborne, Magz (December 14, 2005). "Mouse opens Philippine Playhouse". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- "Walt Disney Television Launches Playhouse Disney Channel". The Manila Times. May 13, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
- "Disney Junior to find biz model in digital India". Indiantelevision.com. November 21, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- Newbery, Charles (April 25, 2007). "‘High School’ remake for Argentina". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "Disney Junior Launches May 6 with new Programs and a Nod to Classic Disney Characters and Magic" (Press release). TORONTO: Astral Media. CNW Telbec. March 3, 2011. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "Astral launches French-language Playhouse Disney Channel with Bell TV" (Press release). TORONTO: Bell TV. May 31, 2010. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- Ibarra, Sergio (April 2008). "Playhouse Disney Launches in Latin America". TV Week (Crain Communications Inc.). Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
- Sola, Bertha (April 1, 2011). "Disney Junior where the magic begins". Chronicle Today (in Spanish). Retrieved August 15, 2014. Google translation.
- Szewczyk, Lukasz (July 13, 2010). "Soon, a new Disney channel in Poland". media2.pl (in Polish). Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
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