Disney Television Animation

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Disney Television Animation
Type Subsidiary
Industry Traditional animation (1984-present)
CGI animation (2006-present)
Flash Animation (2005-2006, 2010-present)
Television (1984-present)
Founded December 1984
Founder(s) Gary Krisel
Headquarters Burbank, California, United States
Number of locations 2
Key people Eric Coleman (SVP, Original Series)
Mike Moon (VP, Creative)
Products Animated television series, films and specials
Parent Disney Channels Worldwide[1]
(Disney–ABC Television Group)
Website Disney TV Animation

Disney Television Animation (DTVA) is the television animation production arm of the Disney Channel 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 one-off special, One Hour in Wonderland. This was followed by 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.


The Walt Disney Television Animation department was started in November 1984 with Gary Krisel as president.[3]

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.

The Disney television animation cycle began in mid-1985, with The Wuzzles (which premiered on CBS on September 14, 1985) and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears (which had premiered on NBC on September 14, 1985 at the same time as and shown first-run head-to-head with The Wuzzles), both which are based upon funny animal-based conceptions, the Gummi Bears being named after a common candy and the Wuzzles originating as a hybrid of two animals put together into one creature. The supposedly (and possibly) final third series in the incidentally so-called "magic animal"-based "trilogy" of original character sets was going to be Disney's 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. 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, which premiered on September 18, 1987. 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. 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.

Over the next few years - and later, many more to come, Disney experimented with more television animation fare, such as Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Raw Toonage, Bonkers, Marsupilami and Gargoyles (which was Disney's first serious action-based animated series, that later gained a large cult/fan following) and The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show and Disney's Doug (which was the sequel to and revival version of the Nickelodeon animated series of the same name) and Nightmare Ned. The TV animation unit was also responsible for even adapting some of the films from the Disney animated features canon and other film sources as well (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Timon & Pumbaa, The Mighty Ducks, itself loosely based on Disney's The Mighty Ducks film series, Jungle Cubs, the second spin-off of Disney's The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians: The Series, Hercules, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, based on Disney/Pixar's Toy Story franchise, The Legend of Tarzan, etc.) and later finally bought back Mickey Mouse and company for two both brand new animated anthology and variety series, Mickey Mouse Works and Disney's House of Mouse. At the same time, the Disney Television Animation banner was strongly associated with Saturday morning cartoons and, more recently since 1998, The Disney Channel, and may have adversely affected the widely commercial, and ratings, successes of its other cartoon series that premiered on ABC's Saturday morning programming block, such as Recess and The Weekenders. Other WDTA series include Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, Fish Hooks and Gravity Falls.[4]

Most of the following shows produced by WDTA premiered on ABC, especially since Disney's 1996 purchase of that network's parent company, Capital Cities Communications (Disney began active control over that network in the 1997-98 season). Prior to the 1997 takeover of ABC, Disney had also aired its animated cartoons on NBC, CBS and over-the-air in first-run syndication. Disney animated productions, both new and (less commonly) rerun, now occupy a major portion of the schedules of The Disney Channel (despite whom since 2002, the cable network now produces exclusive material of its own from WDTA) and its spin-offs, the now-defunct Toon Disney and Playhouse Disney and their successors Disney XD and Disney Junior. (Some of the 1990s WDTA content is rerun in overnight blocks on the Disney Junior channel.)

At the time of Walt Disney Productions merged with Capital Cities/ABC, TV Animation was a unit of Walt Disney Television within the Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications group (WDTT).[5] With the retirement of the WDTT group president in April 1996 and ongoing post-merger reorganization, the unit (along with its Disney TV parent) was transferred to The Walt Disney Studios.[6]

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 transfer to Disney Channel Worldwide.[1] While Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres unit was transfer from Television Animation to Disney Feature Animation.[7]

Ownership and management[edit]

WDTA is headed by Eric Coleman,[8][9][10] Vice President of Original Series of WDTA, he reports to Gary Marsh, president of Disney Channel.

Prior this president of Television Animation was Meredith Roberts and Barry Blumberg, who announced his resignation in November 2005.[11]

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[edit]

Disney television series (with "The Disney Afternoon")[edit]

Title Original running Notes
Adventures of the Gummi Bears (TV-Y7) 1985–91
DuckTales (TV-Y7) 1987–90
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (TV-Y7) 1989–90
TaleSpin (TV-Y7) 1990–91
Darkwing Duck (TV-Y7) 1991–92
Goof Troop (TV-Y7) 1992
Bonkers (TV-Y7) 1993–94
Aladdin (TV-Y7) 1994–96
Gargoyles (TV-Y7-FV) 1994–99 Canon storyline continued via the Gargoyles comics licensed by SLG
Timon & Pumbaa (TV-Y7) 1995–99
The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show (TV-Y7) 1995
Quack Pack (TV-Y7) 1996-99
The Mighty Ducks (TV-Y7-FV) 1996–99

Other Disney television series[edit]

Title Original running Notes
The Wuzzles (TV-Y) 1985
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (TV-Y) 1988–91 Winner of 2 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program of 1988 and 1989.
The Little Mermaid (TV-Y) 1992–94
Raw Toonage(TV-Y7) 1992
Marsupilami (TV-Y7) 1993 in association with Dupuis Audiovisuel and Marsu Productions
Disney's Doug (TV-Y) 1996–99 Seasons 5–7 only, co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Henry's Amazing Animals (TV-Y) 1996-98
Jungle Cubs (TV-Y7) 1996–99
101 Dalmatians (TV-Y7) 1997–2001 co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Recess (TV-Y7) 1997–2001 co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
Pepper Ann (TV-Y7)
Hercules (TV-Y7) 1998–99
Mickey Mouse Works (TV-Y7) 1999–2000
The Weekenders (TV-Y7) 2000–04
Teacher's Pet (TV-Y7) 2000–02 Winner of 4 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Special Class Animated Program of 2001 and 2002
Clerks: The Animated Series (TV-PG/TV-14) 2000 co-production with Miramax Television[12]
House of Mouse (TV-Y7) 2001–03
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (TV-Y7-FV) 2000–01 co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
Lloyd in Space (TV-Y7) 2001–04 co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
The Legend of Tarzan (TV-Y7-FV) 2001–03
Teamo Supremo (TV-Y7-FV) 2002–04
Fillmore! (TV-Y7)

Disney Channel Original Series[edit]

Title Original running Notes
Kim Possible (TV-Y7/TV-G) 2002–07
Lilo & Stitch: The Series (TV-Y/TV-G) 2003–06
Dave the Barbarian (TV-Y7/TV-G) 2004–05
Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (TV-Y7/TV-G) 2004–06
American Dragon: Jake Long (TV-Y7-FV/TV-G) 2005–07
The Buzz on Maggie (TV-Y/TV-G) 2005–06
The Emperor's New School (TV-Y7/TV-G) 2006–08
The Replacements (TV-Y7/TV-G) 2006–09
Shorty McShorts' Shorts (TV-G) 2006-07
Phineas and Ferb (TV-Y7/TV-G) 2007–present
Fish Hooks (TV-Y7/TV-G) 2010–present [13]
Take Two with Phineas and Ferb (TV-G) 2010-11
Gravity Falls (TV-Y7) 2012–present [14][15]
Mickey Mouse (TV-G) 2013–present [16]
Wander Over Yonder (TV-Y7) 2013–present [17]
Dipper´s Guide to the Unexplained (TV-Y7) 2013–present
Star and the Forces of Evil forthcoming 2014 [18]

Disney XD Original Series[edit]

Title Original running Notes
Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil (TV-Y7) 2010–12 [19]
Motorcity (TV-Y7-FV) 2012–13 co-production with Titmouse, Inc.[15][20]
Tron: Uprising (TV-Y7-FV) 2012–13 co-production with Sean Bailey Productions
Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero forthcoming 2014 [21]

Playhouse Disney/Disney Junior Original Series[edit]

Title Original running Notes
PB&J Otter (TV-Y) 1998–2000 co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (TV-Y) 2006–present
My Friends Tigger & Pooh (TV-Y) 2007–10
Special Agent Oso (TV-Y) 2009–12
Jake and the Never Land Pirates (TV-Y) 2011–present
Sofia the First (TV-Y) 2013–present
Tales of Friendship with Winnie the Pooh forthcoming 2013
The 7D forthcoming 2014

Disney television specials[edit]

Title Original airdate
Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too (TV-G) December 14, 1991
Boo to You Too! Winnie the Pooh (TV-G) October 25, 1996
A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving (TV-G) November 22, 1998
A Valentine for You (TV-G) February 13, 1999

All originally-produced first-run specials are directly related to the TV series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Disney television films[edit]

Direct-to-video films[edit]

Only Fluppy Dogs is not related to any television series, as it is a failed pilot episode to the proposed TV series of that same name.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Godfrey, Leigh (January 3, 2003). "Disney Streamlines Television Animation Division". AWN News. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "36th Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". AnnieAwards.org. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  3. ^ Smith, Dave (1998). Disney A to Z - The Updated Official Encyclopedia. 
  4. ^ Nellie Andreeva (December 7, 2010). "Disney TV Animation Builds Exec Team And Gets Pickups For 'Gravity Falls', 'Fish Hooks'". Deadline.com. 
  5. ^ "Fact Sheet: The Walt Disney Company". Press Release. The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Roth, Iger Assume Expanded Responsibilities at the Walt Disney Company". PRNewswire. April 16, 1996. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Baisley, Sarah (June 16, 2003). "DisneyToon Studios Builds Slate Under New Name and Homes for Needy". Animation World Network. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Eric Coleman - Senior Vice President, Original Series, Disney Television Animation". Disney XD Medianet. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  9. ^ "Disney TV Animation welcome Eric Coleman on board". Animated Views. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  10. ^ "Disney TV Animation Brings Eric Coleman On Board". Animation Insider. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  11. ^ "Barry Blumberg Resigns President's Post at Walt Disney TV Animation". DAPs - The Unofficial Disney Fan Club. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  12. ^ https://d23.com/a-to-z/clerks-television/
  13. ^ Kline, Ashley (August 26, 2010). "It's Time To Get Hooked" (.DOC) (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Disney Television Animation Reels in Second Season of Hit Comedy "Fish Hooks" and New Order for Comedy Series "Gravity Falls"". DisneyChannelMedianet.com. Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved January 15, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Disney Channels Portfolio of Brands Shine in Annual Presentation to Advertisers". DisneyChannelMedianet.com. Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/mickey-mouse-disney-goes-old-427444
  18. ^ Disney Channel Greenlights Animated Series About Magical Princess From Young Creator, Deadline.com
  19. ^ "Disney XD to Premiere "Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil" on February 13th". Crushable.com. Crushable. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Production Has Begun on "Motorcity," an Animated Series Set in Futuristic Detroit, to Premiere Next Fall on Disney XD". DisneyChannelMedianet.com. Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  21. ^ http://www.disneyxdmedianet.com/assets/pr%5Chtml/pr61591.html

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