|Launched||February 14, 2011|
(as a programming block on Disney Channel)
March 23, 2012
(as a television channel)
|Owned by||Disney Channels Worldwide|
|Picture format||720p HDTV |
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Slogan||The party's right here!|
Spanish (via SAP audio track)
Playhouse Disney (Worldwide)
|DirecTV||Channel 289 (HD/SD)|
|Dish Network||Channel 168 (SD)|
|C-Band||AMC 11 – Channel 44 (4DTV Digital)|
AMC 18 – Channel 12 (H2H 4DTV)
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 260 (SD)|
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 306 (SD)|
Channel 1306 (HD)
|Google Fiber||Channel 429 (HD/SD)|
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
|DirecTV Now||Internet Protocol television|
|PlayStation Vue||Internet Protocol television|
|Hulu Live TV||Internet Protocol television|
|YouTube TV||Internet Protocol television|
Disney Junior is an American pay television network that is owned by The Walt Disney Company through Disney Channels Worldwide. Aimed mainly at children 8 years and under, its programming consists of original first-run television series, theatrically-released and home media-exclusive movies and select other third-party programming.
Until January 2017, Disney Junior also lent its name to a morning and early afternoon program block seen on sister network Disney Channel, branded as "Disney Junior on Disney Channel", airing weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (6:00 to 10:00 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.
As of January 2016, the channel is available to 74.0 million households in the U.S.
The Walt Disney Company first attempted to launch a 24-hour subscription channel for preschoolers in the United States, 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 pay television service, which would compete with other subscription 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 pay channels outside of the United States bearing the Playhouse Disney name being rebranded as Disney Junior.
The flagship channel in the United States intended to replace Soapnet, a Disney-owned 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.
Network and block launches
Disney Junior first launched as a programming block on the Disney Channel in February 2011. 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 subscription 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 The N (now 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, Optimum, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and Time Warner Cable, 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 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
In 2012, Disney Junior launched the movie night anthology as Magical World of Disney Junior. The channel also premiered its first Disney Junior Original Movie, Lucky Duck during Magical World on Friday, June 20, 2014.
Since its launch, Disney Junior became initially available to subscribers of Xfinity, 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 on the 14th, a Saturday. 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, which also included streaming rights for the networks as part of Dish's IPTV streaming service Sling TV.
Programming on the Disney Junior channel includes original series (such as Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Goldie & Bear, Vampirina, and The Lion Guard), shows formerly seen on the now-defunct Playhouse Disney block (such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins), plus re-runs of former original shows (such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sheriff Callie's Wild West) - 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 slot).
Disney Junior Night Light
Disney Junior Night Light is the former name of 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 and Disney Junior, which both operate as commercial-free services), 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), Sesh Tales (a segment featuring costumed finger puppets with twists on traditional fairy tales) and That's Fresh (a segment featuring cooking tips aimed at parents, 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. Since 2017, Disney Junior's overnight programming has run unbranded and without the Night Light continuity.
|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 free-to-air and pay-TV properties). Most providers began carrying it upon Disney Junior's launch in most areas, and use a downscaled version to provide their standard definition feeds. DirecTV began carrying Disney Junior's HD feed on August 15, 2012.|
|Disney Junior On Demand||Disney Junior On Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service, offering select episodes of Disney Junior's original series. It is available to most subscription-based providers that carry the network.|
|Disney Junior App||Formerly known as "WATCH Disney Junior" until a June 2016 rebranding, the mobile app and digital media player viewing apps for Disney Junior offer live and on-demand streaming of Disney Junior content online. These apps require users to authenticate with a login from a participating television service provider for access to live video or the newest episodes of a series, though a limited selection of free episodes also are available without a login. The app closed on February 15, 2018.|
|DisneyNOW||On September 28, 2017, the Disney Channel app was relaunched as DisneyNOW, which combines the apps of Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD and Radio Disney into one universal app featuring access to all four services. The Disney Junior app was discontinued on February 15, 2018.|
Disney Junior, formerly known as Playhouse Disney, is available around the world.
- As of January 2017, Disney Channel continues to air a morning and early afternoon block of Disney Junior content, but has dropped its "Disney Junior on Disney Channel" on-air branding in favor of airing all programming under the "Disney Channel" moniker.
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- Disney/ABC Television Group Announces Disney Junior, a New 24-Hour Channel for Preschoolers and Their Families, The Futon Critic, May 26, 2010
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- Milligan, Mercedes (May 12, 2014). "First Disney Junior Movie 'Lucky Duck' Names Lead Quackers". Animation Magazine. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Disney Junior Launches on Friday; SOAPnet to Continue on Some Carriers, Hollywood Reporter, March 22, 2012.
- "NCTC to distribute Disney Junior". kidscreen.com.
- Disney Junior will Launch Saturday, July 14 to Millions of DIRECTV Customers Nationwide Archived July 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- Liebermann, David (July 13, 2012). "A Challenge To Viacom? DirecTV Adds Disney Junior To Programming Lineup". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
- "The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications Announce New Distribution Agreement". The Futon Critic. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- Farrell, Mike (January 15, 2013). "Disney Strikes U-Verse Carriage Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
- Liebermann, David (3 March 2014). "Dish And Disney Finalize Output Deal That Ends Their Ad-Hopper Dispute". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- Dickson, Jeremy (August 29, 2012). "First look: DJ Tales to bow on Disney Junior Night Light". Kidscreen. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
- "Disney Announces Disney Junior, a 24-hr channel for Preschoolers & families". Laughing Place. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Frost, John (May 27, 2010). "Disney Junior to replace Soapnet in Cable Lineup". The Disney Blog. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- "On August 15 four exciting channels will be available in eye-popping HD!". DirecTV. August 15, 2012. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Steinberg, Brian (28 February 2017). "As 'Kids' Upfront' Kicks Off, Disney Woos Madison Avenue – Variety". Variety. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
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