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Disney Television Animation

Disney Television Animation
Industry Traditional animation (1984-present)
Flash Animation (2005-present)
CGI animation (2006-present)
Television (1984-present)
Founded December 1984
Founder Gary Krisel
Headquarters Glendale, California, United States
Number of locations
Key people
Eric Coleman (SVP, Original Series)
Lisa Salamone (SVP, Production)
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 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]

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.[4]

The Disney television animation cycle began in mid-1985, with The Wuzzles and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears,[4] 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.[5] 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.[4] 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. Treasure of the Lost Lamp was the first movie from TV Animation's Disney MovieToon/Disney Video Premieres unit.[6]

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, which was the first show that allowed Disney's principal characters to star in a series;[4] Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Raw Toonage, Bonkers, Marsupilami, Gargoyles (which was Disney's first serious action-based animated series, that later gained a large cult/fan following), The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show, 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.[7]

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 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).[8] 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.[9]

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] Around the same time, the Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres unit was transferred from Television Animation to Feature Animation.[10]


DTVA is headed by Eric Coleman,[11][12][13] 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.[14]

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–present
Fish Hooks 2010–14 [15]
Take Two with Phineas and Ferb 2010–11
Gravity Falls 2012–present [16][17]
Mickey Mouse 2013–present [18]
Wander Over Yonder 2013–present [19]
Gravity Falls shorts 2013–present
Star vs. the Forces of Evil 2015 [20]

Disney XD Original Series

Title Original running Notes
Phineas and Ferb 2009–present
Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil 2010–12 [21]
Motorcity 2012–13 co-production with Titmouse, Inc.[17][22]
Tron: Uprising 2012–13 co-production with Sean Bailey Productions
Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 2012–present 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
Star vs. the Forces of Evil 2015 [23][24][25]
Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero 2015 [26][27] Executive Produced and created by Jared Bush and Sam Levine.[28]
Pickle & Peanut 2015 [29]
Future-Worm! Fall 2015 [30][31]
Mikey Murphy's Law 2017 [32]

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 CGI
My Friends Tigger & Pooh 2007–2010 CGI
Special Agent Oso 2009–2012 CGI
Jake and the Never Land Pirates 2011–present CGI
Sofia the First 2012–present CGI
The Adventures of Disney Fairies 2014–present CGI
The Lion Guard[33] 2016
Elena of Avalor[34] 2016
Mickey and the Roadster Racers[35] 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[36]

Television specials

Title Original airdate
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[37] TBA

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

Television films

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.

Direct-to-video films

Theatrical films

See also

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  13. ^ "Disney TV Animation Brings Eric Coleman On Board". Animation Insider. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Barry Blumberg Resigns President's Post at Walt Disney TV Animation". DAPs - The Unofficial Disney Fan Club. Retrieved February 19, 2011. 
  15. ^ Kline, Ashley (August 26, 2010). "It's Time To Get Hooked" (.DOC) (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ "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. 
  17. ^ a b "Disney Channels Portfolio of Brands Shine in Annual Presentation to Advertisers". Disney Channel Medianet. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
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  21. ^ "Disney XD to Premiere "Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil" on February 13th". Crushable. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
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  32. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (May 7, 2015). "‘Phineas & Ferb’ Creators Land New Animated Comedy on Disney XD". Variety. Retrieved May 7, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Disney Channel Preps New ‘Lion King’ Series, TV Movie Franchise". Variety. June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Disney Junior Launching ‘Sofia The First’ Spinoff ‘Elena Of Avalor’ In 2016". Deadline. January 29, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  35. ^ Beck, Jerry (April 8, 2015). "Disney Junior Jumpstarts "Mickey and the Roadster Racers" For 2017". Animation Scoop. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  36. ^ 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. 
  37. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (July 17, 2014). "Disney Prepping 'Haunted Mansion' TV Special (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 

External links