Disney Television 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.
|Headquarters||Glendale, California, United States|
Number of locations
|Eric Coleman (SVP)|
|Parent||Disney Channels Worldwide
(Disney–ABC Television Group)
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.
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.
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. Originally, the staff was told that they could not use the principal Disney cartoon characters in the new shows.
The Disney television animation cycle began in mid-1985, with The Wuzzles and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears, 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 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. 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. DTVA hired a director of specials, Sharon Morrill, in 1993.
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 block.
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. Morrill was in charge of the first Aladdin DTV film launching Disney Video Premiere/Direct to Video unit.
Three overseas Disney studios were set up to produce the company's animated television series. Disney Animation Australia was started in 1988. In 1989, the Brizzi brothers sold Brizzi Films to Disney Television Animation and was renamed Walt Disney Animation France. Also that year, Disney Animation Japan was started. Walt Disney Animation Canada was opened in January 1996 to tap Canada's animator pool and produce direct-to-video. As direct-to-video increased in importance, the overseas studios moved to making feature films.
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. 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). 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. 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.
In the second quarter of 2000, due to weak financial performance, Disney Animation Canada was closed. David Stainton took charge of the company as executive vice president in January 2000 then as president in February 2002 under Thomas Schumacher.
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. In this reorganization, the Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premieres unit was transferred from Television Animation to Feature Animation. While Stainton took over as President of Disney Feature Animation from Schumacher, while Blumberg returned to DTA as president.
Prior presidents of Television Animation were Meredith Roberts and Barry Blumberg. Blumberg announced his resignation in November 2005.
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.
Disney television series (with "The Disney Afternoon")
|Adventures of the Gummi Bears||1985–91|
|Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers||1989–90|
|Timon & Pumbaa||1995–99|
|The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show||1995|
|The Mighty Ducks||1996–97|
Disney television series (with "Disney's One Saturday Morning")
|101 Dalmatians||1997–98||co-production with Jumbo Pictures|
|Recess||1997–2003||co-production with Paul & Joe Productions|
|Mickey Mouse Works||1999–2000|
|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|
|House of Mouse||2001–03|
|Lloyd in Space||2001–04||co-production with Paul & Joe Productions|
|The Legend of Tarzan||2001–03|
Other Disney television series
|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|
|Marsupilami||1993||in association with Dupuis Audiovisuel and Marsu Productions|
|Disney's Doug||1996–99||acquired from Nickelodeon, co-production with Jumbo Pictures|
Disney Channel original series
|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|
|Shorty McShorts' Shorts||2006–07|
|Phineas and Ferb||2007–15|
|Take Two with Phineas and Ferb||2010–11|
|Wander Over Yonder||2013–16|||
|Gravity Falls Shorts||2013–14|
|Descendants: Wicked World||2015–present|
|The Lion Guard|||
|Elena of Avalor||2016–present|||
|Tangled: The Series||2017–present|||
Disney XD original series
Playhouse Disney/Disney Junior original series
|PB&J Otter||1998–2000||co-production with Jumbo Pictures|
|Mickey Mouse Clubhouse||2006–16||Computer Animation|
|My Friends Tigger & Pooh||2007–10|
|Special Agent Oso||2009–12|
|Jake and the Never Land Pirates||2011–present|
|Sofia the First||2012–present||Computer Animation|
|The Lion Guard||2016–present|||
|Mickey and the Roadster Racers||2017–present||Computer Animation|
ABC television series
|Clerks: The Animated Series||2000||uncredited; co-production with Miramax Television, View Askew Productions, and Touchstone Television|
|Title||Original air date||Notes|
|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|
|The O.W.C.A. Files||November 9, 2015||Final Phineas and Ferb special.|
|Duck the Halls: A Mickey Mouse Christmas Special||December 9, 2016||First Mickey Mouse half-hour special.|
- Fluppy Dogs (1986) pilot film
- DuckTales: The Treasure of the Golden Suns (1987)
- DuckTales: Time is Money (1989)
- Super DuckTales (1989)
- TaleSpin: Plunder & Lightning (1990)
- Darkwing Duck: Darkly Dawns the Duck (1991)
- Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time (2003)
- Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama (2005)
- The Proud Family Movie (2005) co-production with Hyperion Animation
- Leroy & Stitch (2006)
- Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension (2011)
- Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess (2012)
- The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar (2015)
- Elena and the Secret of Avalor (2016)
- Tangled: Before Ever After (2017)
- Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken (1995)
- Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off (1997)
- Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World (1998)
- Hercules: Zero to Hero (1998)
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2000; co-production with Pixar)
- Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse (2001)
- Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street (2001) co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
- Tarzan & Jane (2002)
- Mickey's House of Villains (2002)
- Stitch! The Movie (2003)
- Atlantis: Milo's Return (2003)
- Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade (2003) co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
- Recess: All Growed Down (2003) co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
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The duo are now busy at work at Milo Murphy's Law (formerly Mikey Murphy's Law),...
- "Disney Channel Preps New 'Lion King' Series, TV Movie Franchise". Variety. June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
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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.
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