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Disney Television Animation

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Disney Television Animation
Industry Animation Television
Founded December 1984 (1984-12)
Founder Gary Krisel
Headquarters Glendale, California, United States
Number of locations
Key people
Eric Coleman (SVP)
Parent Disney Channels Worldwide[1]
(Disney–ABC Television Group)

Disney Television Animation (DTVA) is the television animation production arm of the Disney Channels Worldwide dedicated to creating, developing and producing animated television series, films, specials and other projects.

Established in 1984 during the reorganization and subsequent re-incorporation of The Walt Disney Company following the arrival of then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, the entity was formerly known as The Walt Disney Pictures Television Animation Group, the name was then later changed, shortened to Walt Disney Television Animation starting in 1987 and was its name up until 2011, when it has been shortened again to Disney Television Animation.[2]


The Walt Disney Company first ventured into the television industry as early as 1950, beginning with the one-hour Christmas special, One Hour in Wonderland. This was followed by the 1951 Christmas special, The Walt Disney Christmas Show, the long-running (1954–2008) anthology series, The Wonderful World of Disney (which was Disney's first regular series as a whole), the children's variety show The Mickey Mouse Club, and the 1957-1959 adventure series, Zorro. However, one element was missing from Disney's expansion into television: An original animated television series. Until the early 80's, the studio had never produced its own original animated shows in-house, because Walt Disney felt it was economically impossible. Nearly all pre-1985 TV animation was wrap-around segments made to bridge the gaps on existing theatrical material on The Wonderful World of Disney. Osamu Tezuka met Walt at the 1964 World's Fair, at which time Disney said he hoped to "make something just like" Tezuka's Astro Boy someday, but unfortunately nothing came of it.


Disney Television Animation's Glendale site

The Walt Disney Television Animation department was started in November 1984 with Gary Krisel as president[3] and Michael Webster as senior vice president.[4]

This was considered a risky move, because animated TV series were generally considered low-budget investments for most of the history of TV cartoons up through the 1980s. Many critics say that Disney's own animation studio had lost most of its luster during the period from Walt Disney's passing through the 1980s. However, the studio took a number of risks that paid off handsomely. The studio successfully gambled on the idea that a substantially larger investment into quality animation could be made back through both network television and over-the-air in syndication, as well as cable. The final result is a string of higher budgeted animated television productions which proved to be profitable ventures and raised the standard for the TV medium.

With the hiring of a new CEO for Disney Production in 1984, Michael Eisner, lead him to push to expand Disney into new areas thus the establishment of a television animation division that year. The cartoon would be shop to all markets: networks, Disney Channel and syndication. Eisner held a meeting at his home in which he brought up the concept of doing a series on Gummi bear as his kids like the candy. Original the staff was told that they could not use the principal Disney cartoon characters in the new shows.[5]

The Disney television animation cycle began in mid-1985, with The Wuzzles and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears,[5] both which are based upon funny animal-based conceptions. The supposedly (and possibly) final third series in the incidentally so-called "magic animal"-based "trilogy" of original character sets was going to be[citation needed] Fluppy Dogs (which premiered only as an hour-long TV movie pilot on ABC on Thanksgiving 1986), itself loosely based a series of children's books and line of toys about a race of anthropomorphic pastel-colored dimension-hopping alien (fluppy) dogs.[6] It was not a successful hit (due to low viewership and support) however, as the proposed series was not picked up after it never went beyond that one pilot episode, and the studio instead quickly fell into a routine of adapting its old properties into the new use, which ultimately, Disney coincidentally really did.

In 1987, Disney finally unveiled the newest series yet in its cycle, and the first in their successful long-time line of syndicated animated shows, DuckTales.[5] The show was successful enough to spawn a feature film, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, and two spin-off series: Darkwing Duck and Quack Pack. 1990 release Treasure of the Lost Lamp was the first movie from TV Animation's Disney MovieToon unit.[7] DTVA hired a director of specials, Sharon Morrill, in 1993.[8]

The success of DuckTales also paved the way for a new wave of high-quality animated TV series, including Disney's own The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1988. Later, early that spring, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers debuted on March 4, 1989, and was paired with DuckTales in an hour-long syndicated show through the 1989-1990 television season. In the 1990-1991 season, Disney expanded the idea even further, to create The Disney Afternoon, a two-hour long syndicated block of half-hour cartoons, which premiered much later on September 10, 1990. DuckTales was one of the early flagship cartoons in the series.

On August 24, 1994 with Jeffrey Katzenberg's resignation, Richard Frank became head of newly formed Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications (WDTT), which included WDTA, from units of The Walt Disney Studios.[9] Morrill was in charge of the first Aladdin DTV film launching Disney Video Premiere/Direct to Video unit.[10]

Three overseas Disney studios were set up to produce the company's animated television series.[11] Disney Animation Australia was started in 1988.[12] In 1989, the Brizzi brothers sold Brizzi Films to Disney Television Animation and was renamed Walt Disney Animation France.[13] Also that year, Disney Animation Japan was started.[14] Walt Disney Animation Canada was opened in January 1996 to tap Canada's animator pool and produce direct-to-video.[15] As direct-to-video increased in importance, the overseas studios moved to making feature films.[11]

WDTT chair Frank left Disney in March 1995. With Krisel expecting to be promoted to head up WDTT but passed over, Krisel left WDTA at the end of his contract in January 1996.[16] At the time the Walt Disney Company merged with Capital Cities/ABC, TV Animation was a unit of Walt Disney Television within the Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications group (WDTT).[17] With the retirement of WDTT group president Dennis Hightower in April 1996 and ongoing post-merger reorganization, the unit (along with its Disney TV parent) was transferred to the Walt Disney Studios.[18] By April 1998, Movietoons was folded in with Disney Video Premiere films and network TV specials of Disney TV Animation as Morrill was promoted to executive vice president over her existing unit of Disney Video Premiere films, network TV specials and Movietoons. At the same time, Barry Blumberg was elevated to executive vice president for network and syndicated animated TV series. Both reported to Disney Television president Charles Hirschhorn.[8]

In the second quarter of 2000, due to weak financial performance, Disney Animation Canada was closed.[15] David Stainton took charge of the company as executive vice president in January 2000 then as president in February 2002 under Thomas Schumacher.[19]

In January 2003, Disney initiated a reorganization of its theatrical and animation units to improve resource usage and continued focus on new characters and franchise development. TV Animation was transferred to Disney Channels Worldwide.[1] In this reorganization, the Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres unit was transferred from Television Animation to Feature Animation.[20][21] While Stainton took over as President of Disney Feature Animation from Schumacher, while Blumberg returned to DTA as president.[21]


DTVA is headed by Eric Coleman,[22][23] Senior Vice President, Original Series, he reports to Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide.[citation needed]

Prior presidents of Television Animation were Meredith Roberts and Barry Blumberg. Blumberg announced his resignation in November 2005.[24]

Tom Ruzicka, now at Universal Animation Studios, was one of the original executives in charge of this fledgling group. Other animation executives that worked at Television Animation over the years were Barbara Ferro, Sharon Morrill, Bill Gross (former President of Jumbo Pictures, creators of Doug), Maia Mattise, Lenora Hume.

List of Disney Television Animation productions

Disney television series (with "The Disney Afternoon")

Title Original running Notes
Adventures of the Gummi Bears 1985–91
DuckTales 1987–90
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 1989–90
TaleSpin 1990–91
Darkwing Duck 1991–92
Goof Troop 1992–93
Bonkers 1993–94
Aladdin 1994–95
Gargoyles 1994–97 Canon storyline continued via the Gargoyles comics licensed by SLG
Timon & Pumbaa 1995–99
The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show 1995
Quack Pack 1996
The Mighty Ducks 1996–97

Disney television series (with "Disney's One Saturday Morning")

Title Original running Notes
101 Dalmatians 1997–98 co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Recess 1997–2003 co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
Pepper Ann 1997–2000
Hercules 1998–99
Mickey Mouse Works 1999–2000
The Weekenders 2000–04
Teacher's Pet 2000–02 Winner of 4 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Special Class Animated Program of 2001 and 2002
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command 2000–01 co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
House of Mouse 2001–03
Lloyd in Space 2001–04 co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
The Legend of Tarzan 2001–03
Teamo Supremo 2002–04

Other Disney television series

Title Original running Notes
The Wuzzles 1985
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 1988–91 Winner of 2 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program of 1988 and 1989.
The Little Mermaid 1992–94
Raw Toonage 1992
Marsupilami 1993 in association with Dupuis Audiovisuel and Marsu Productions
Disney's Doug 1996–99 Seasons 5–7 only, co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Jungle Cubs 1996–98
Fillmore! 2002–04

Disney Channel original series

Title Original running Notes
The Proud Family 2001–05 co-production with Jambalaya Studios
Kim Possible 2002–07
Lilo & Stitch: The Series 2003–06
Dave the Barbarian 2004–05
Brandy & Mr. Whiskers 2004–06
American Dragon: Jake Long 2005–07
The Buzz on Maggie 2005–06
The Emperor's New School 2006–08
The Replacements 2006–09
Shorty McShorts' Shorts 2006–07
Phineas and Ferb 2007–15
Fish Hooks 2010–14 [25]
Take Two with Phineas and Ferb 2010–11
Gravity Falls 2012–present [26][27]
Mickey Mouse 2013–present [28]
Wander Over Yonder 2013–present [29]
Gravity Falls Shorts 2013–14
The Lion Guard 2015 [30]
Tangled 2017 [31]

Disney XD original series

Title Original running Notes
Phineas and Ferb 2009–15
Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil 2010–12 [32]
Motorcity 2012–13 co-production with Titmouse, Inc.[27][33]
Tron: Uprising 2012–13 co-production with Sean Bailey Productions
Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 2012–15 co-production with Titmouse, Inc. Boulder Media Limited and Rough Draft Studios Korea Co., Ltd. Season 2-present
Wander Over Yonder 2014–present Previously aired on Disney Channel. Now on Disney XD
The 7D 2014–present
Gravity Falls 2014–present Season 2–present as a Disney XD Original Series
Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero 2014–present [34][35] Executive Produced and created by Jared Bush and Sam Levine.[36]
Star vs. the Forces of Evil 2015–present [37][38][39]
Two More Eggs 2015–present co-production with Citywide Hoop Champs, Inc.[40]
Wander Over Yonder Shorts 2015
Pickle & Peanut 2015–present [41]
Future-Worm! Fall 2015 [42][43]
Milo Murphy's Law 2017 [44][45]

Playhouse Disney/Disney Junior original series

Title Original running Notes
PB&J Otter 1998–2000 co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 2006–present
My Friends Tigger & Pooh 2007–2010
Special Agent Oso 2009–2012
Jake and the Never Land Pirates 2011–present
Sofia the First 2012–present
Goldie & Bear 2015–present [46]
The Lion Guard[47] 2016
Elena of Avalor[48] 2016
Mickey and the Roadster Racers[49] 2017

ABC television series

Title Original running Notes
Clerks: The Animated Series 2000 uncredited; co-production with Miramax Television, View Askew Productions, and Touchstone Television[50]

Television specials

Title Original air date
Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too December 14, 1991
Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh October 25, 1996
A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving November 22, 1998
Winnie the Pooh: A Valentine for You February 13, 1999
Haunted Mansion[51] TBA

Television films

Direct-to-video films

Theatrical films

See also


  1. ^ a b Godfrey, Leigh (January 3, 2003). "Disney Streamlines Television Animation Division". AWN News. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "36th Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". January 30, 2009. Retrieved July 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ Smith, Dave (1998). Disney A to Z - The Updated Official Encyclopedia. p. 594. 
  4. ^ "Michael Webster". Variety. February 3, 2000. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Bentley, Rick (November 19, 2014). "Disney TV Animation Is 30 Years Old, and It's Going Strong". Valley News. The Fresno Bee. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ Grant, John (1992). Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters: From Mickey Mouse to Aladdin. Hyperion Books. p. 139. ISBN 1-56282-904-1. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  7. ^ Harrington, Richard (August 7, 1990). "'DuckTales: The Movie'". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Olson, Eric (April 27, 1998). "Disney ups TV animation duo". Variety. Retrieved September 16, 2015. 
  9. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (August 25, 1994). "Chairman of Disney Studios Resigns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  10. ^ Baisley, Sarah (June 16, 2003). "DisneyToon Studios Builds Slate Under New Name and Homes for Needy". Animation World Network. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Hoffman, Ilene (November 1997). "Buena Vista Home Entertainment: A Very Lucky Accident Indeed". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Disney to axe Sydney studio". The Sydney Morning Herald. July 26, 2005. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Paul & Gaëtan Brizzi". ArtRegister Network. Retrieved 24 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Kilday, Gregg (September 23, 2003). "Dis To Shut Japan Ani Unit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Poirier, Agnes (February 15, 2000). "Disney pulls plug on Canadian animation studios". Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Tobenkin, David (June 12, 1995). "Krisel to depart Disney in January". Broadcasting & Cable (NewBay Media LLC). via=HighBeam Research. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Fact Sheet: The Walt Disney Company". Press Release. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Roth, Iger Assume Expanded Responsibilities at the Walt Disney Company". PRNewswire. April 16, 1996. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  19. ^ Godfrey, Leigh (February 27, 2002). "David Stainton Promoted To President, Walt Disney Television Animation". Animation World Network (AWN, Inc.). Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  20. ^ Baisley, Sarah (June 16, 2003). "DisneyToon Studios Builds Slate Under New Name and Homes for Needy". Animation World Network. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Godfrey, Leigh (January 3, 2003). "David Stainton Named President, Disney Feature Animation". Animation World Network (AWN, Inc.). Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  22. ^ "Disney TV Animation welcome Eric Coleman on board". Animated Views. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Disney TV Animation Brings Eric Coleman On Board". Animation Insider. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Barry Blumberg Resigns President's Post at Walt Disney TV Animation". DAPs - The Unofficial Disney Fan Club. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  25. ^ Kline, Ashley (August 26, 2010). "It's Time To Get Hooked" (.DOC) (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Disney Television Animation Reels in Second Season of Hit Comedy "Fish Hooks" and New Order for Comedy Series "Gravity Falls"". Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved January 15, 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Disney Channels Portfolio of Brands Shine in Annual Presentation to Advertisers". Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Mickey Mouse: Disney Goes Old School With New Cartoon Shorts". The Hollywood Reporter. March 12, 2013. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (June 3, 2015). "'Tangled' Animated TV Series Based on Film Coming to Disney Channel". Variety. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Disney XD to Premiere "Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil" on February 13th". Crushable. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Production Has Begun on "Motorcity," an Animated Series Set in Futuristic Detroit, to Premiere Next Fall on Disney XD". Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  34. ^ Amidi, Amid (August 12, 2014). "First Look: Disney's 'Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero'". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero (Series)"., December 12, 2013
  37. ^ Amidi, Amid (August 6, 2014). "Disney Tries Something New With 'Star Vs. The Forces of Evil': A Woman Creator". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  38. ^ Disney Channel Greenlights Animated Series About Magical Princess From Young Creator,
  39. ^ Weinstein, Shelli (July 8, 2014). "San Diego Comic-Con TV Schedule: Will Your Favorite Shows Be There?". Variety. 
  40. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (June 23, 2015). "Brothers Chaps Shorts Launch on XD Platforms". Animation Magazine. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  41. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (June 23, 2014). "Disney Starts Production on New 'Pickle & Peanut' Animated Series". Animation World Network. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  42. ^ Beck, Jerry (July 17, 2014). "Disney Television Animation Announces a Trio of New Pilots and "Haunted Mansion" Special". Animation Scoop. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  43. ^ McLean, Tom (February 24, 2015). "Disney XD Sets Fall Debut for 'Future-Worm!'". Animation Magazine. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  44. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (May 7, 2015). "'Phineas & Ferb' Creators Land New Animated Comedy on Disney XD". Variety. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  45. ^ Schneider, Michael (July 13, 2015). "Comic-Con First Look: As Phineas and Ferb Says Goodbye, a Sneak Peek at The O.W.C.A. Files". TV Insider. Retrieved September 14, 2015. The duo are now busy at work at Milo Murphy's Law (formerly Mikey Murphy's Law),... 
  46. ^ "Disney Junior Greenlights 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'-Inspired Series (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. February 23, 2015. 
  47. ^ "Disney Channel Preps New 'Lion King' Series, TV Movie Franchise". Variety. June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Disney Junior Launching ‘Sofia The First’ Spinoff ‘Elena Of Avalor’ In 2016". Deadline. January 29, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  49. ^ Beck, Jerry (April 8, 2015). "Disney Junior Jumpstarts "Mickey and the Roadster Racers" For 2017". Animation Scoop. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  50. ^ Stabile, Carol (April 20, 2003). Prime Time Animation: Television Animation and American Culture. Routledge. p. 69. Beneath the tower of intra-organizational title credits for ABC's short-lived Clerks — Miramax Films, Miramax Television, Touchstone Television, View Askew Productions — resides the Walt Disney television animation studio. 
  51. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 17, 2014). "Disney Prepping 'Haunted Mansion' TV Special (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  52. ^ Newman, Kim (2000). "The Tigger Movie (2000)". Sight & Sound (British Film Institute). Retrieved September 8, 2015. 

External links