A Salute to Disney Channel: Disney Channel time line

April 18, 1983...
April 1, 1998

April 18, 1983

Disney Channel debuts in the U.S. as a premium/pay service,

airing 16 hours a day daily.

September 1983

Disney Channel becomes available on cable systems in all 50 U.S. states.

October 1983

First made-for-Disney Channel TV movie, Tiger Town, airs.

December 1983

Disney Channel ends 1983 with 611,000 subscribers.

January 1984

The world television premiere of Alice in Wonderland marks the first time a classic Disney animated film has aired in its entirety on TV.

September 1984

Disney Channel wins its first CableACE award for Tiger Town.

January 1985

Disney Channel becomes profitable 20 months after its debut, with 1.75 million subscribers.

May 1986

Disney Channel begins programming 24 hours a day.

January 1987

Disney Channel begins the year with 3.175 million subscribers.

May 1988

Disney Channel scrambles its signal, thus entering the home satellite dish market.

August 1988

Disney Channel launches its Going Home concert series with Ashford & Simpson: Going Home.

April 1989

An all-new and original Mickey Mouse Club debuts.

August 1989

Disney Channel announces a new interstitial series, The Disney Channel Salutes The American Teacher, hosted by First Lady Barbara Bush.

January 1990

Disney Channel is now available in over five million households nationwide.

May 1990

Disney Channel wins its first Daytime Emmy Awards for the movies Looking for Miracles, Calgary ’88: 16 Days of Glory and the special A Conversation with . . . George Burns.

May 1990

Disney Channel wins its first Peabody Award for Shelley Duvall’s Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme.

September 1, 1990

TCI Montgomery Cablevision becomes the first cable operator to carry Disney Channel as a basic cable service.

September 1990

Disney Channel earns its first Primetime Emmy for Shelley Duvall’s Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme.

November 1990

Disney Channel airs the first annual The Walt Disney Company Presents the American Teacher Awards.

January 1991

Disney Channel is available in 5.6 million

households nationwide.

May 1991

World television premiere of The Little Mermaid.

January 1992

Disney Channel is available in 6.2 million households


March 1992

Disney Channel launches its original series Adventures in Wonderland.

September 1992

Disney Channel airs its first annual Disney’s Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra.

January 1993

Subscribers now number seven million.

April 1993

Disney Channel kicks off a 14-city nationwide bus tour in celebration of its tenth anniversary.

January 1995

Disney Channel is available in 12.6 million households, an increase of 4.87 million subscribers, the largest single-year growth in the channel’s history to date.

March 1995

Disney Channel debuts in Taiwan, its first international presence.

June 1995

World television premiere of the documentary, Anne Frank Remembered. It goes on to win the Oscar¨ for Best Documentary.

October 1995

Debut of Disney Channel-United Kingdom.

January 1996

Disney Channel is now available in 16.1 million households.

June 1996

Disney Channel-Australia debuts, followed by Malaysia in October.

September 1996

Disney Channel moves to an all-movie prime-time schedule with family-oriented films scheduled seven nights a week. Schedule kicks off with the premiere of The Lion King.

December 1996

Disney Channel is now available in 25 million homes.

March 1997

Disney Channel-France premieres, followed by Middle East in April.

April 1997

Disney Channel debuts a new logo and on-air look to viewers, along with the world television debut of Pocahontas.

April 1997

Disney Channel announces a multiyear affiliation agreement with TCI Communications that will permit TCI to carry Disney Channel on various product tiers on its cable television systems.

July 1997

Nine-city ‘Disney Channel PremEARS in the Park,’ a four-night mini-movie festival promotional tie-in with local cable services to promote Disney’s move to basic cable, kicks off in Kansas City.

August 1997

Debuts of two original animal adventure series, Going Wild with Jeff Corwin and Omba Mokomba, make up the new animal block during Sunday night prime time.

September 1997

Debut of Sunday overnight block, Vault Disney, featuring the best from Disney’s vast library.

October 1997

Debut of Bear in the Big Blue House, an original series for little kids, named by TV Guide as one of the top 10 new shows for kids.

December 1997

Announcement of Toon Disney, a new basic cable channel comprised of classic Disney animation.

March 1998

Disney Channel grows to 35 million subscribers.

April 1998

Disney Channel-Spain is scheduled to come on-line.

April 18, 1998

On Disney Channel’s 15th anniversary, the company will launch Toon Disney.

In this report:
- Programming: Back to basics
- Disney Channel time line
- Marketing: Not your parents’ Disney
- Q&A with Anne Sweeney
- Drawing up Toon Disney
- International: Vive le Mickey

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