Walt Disney Television
|Fate||Separated from Walt Disney Television Animation, and folded into Touchstone Television (now ABC Studios)|
Walt Disney Television Animation
Disney Television Animation
|Headquarters||Burbank, California, USA|
Today, the majority of Walt Disney Television's productions are animated series which are produced through Walt Disney Television group (simply known as Walt Disney Television). The last known live-action series produced by WDTV was Smart Guy which ran for three seasons from 1997 to 1999 on the now-defunct WB Television Network.
While initially not interest in television back in the 1930s, Walt Disney changed his mind seeing TV at least as a promotional tool. Most studios were generating revenue by selling off their permanent TV right to their films made before 1948, while Disney held on to the company's film rights. Thus Walt Disney Productions was the first of the film industry, which saw TV as an adversary, to enter the TV production field. Walt Disney Productions did an hour-long special on Christmas Day 1950 for NBC then in 1951 for CBS. The specials used Disney film clips, short films and promoted the upcoming Alice in Wonderland theatrical film. Both specials had excellent ratings. The networks pursued Disney to do a full series for them. Disney used this interest in a series to request funding for Disneyland, which the newly merged American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres did for its American Broadcasting Company with the airing of the Disneyland anthology series. The "Operation Undersea" episode of the series garnered Disney its first Emmy Award. The series quickly became ABC's first series to hit the top 20 in ratings.
Disney's entry into TV impacted the TV industry as the Disney anthology show marked a move from live to filmed delivery of TV shows. Filmng made it possible for higher production value. Also, a couple of the major film studios copied the show's format with MGM Parade and Warner Bros. Presents. Both shows did not last.
With the series' "Davy Crockett" episodes generating high sale of merchandise, Disney Productions produced The Mickey Mouse Club, the first youth audience TV and a daily afternoon show.
Walt Disney Television was formed in 1983, as the Walt Disney Pictures Television Division, the name was later shortened to Walt Disney Pictures Television in 1986 and later shortened to Walt Disney Television in 1988. Until 1983, Disney shows were aired under the banner of the parent company, then named Walt Disney Productions.
In August 1994, with the departure of Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, its filmed entertainment business was split into two, with Walt Disney Pictures continuing with motion pictures and the newly created Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications for television under Joe Roth and Richard Frank respectively.
At the time when Disney merged with Capital Cities/ABC, Disney Television was a part of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications (WDTT). With the retirement of WDTT president Dennis Hightower in April 1996 and ongoing post-merger reorganization, Walt Disney Television (along with its Animation unit) was transferred back to The Walt Disney Studios.
The Walt Disney Television group, upon the departure of its president Dean Valentine in September 1997, was split into two units: Walt Disney Television (WDT) and Walt Disney Network Television (WDNT), reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth. WDT would be headed by Charles Hirschhorn as president and consisted of The Wonderful World of Disney telefilms for ABC, the-direct-to video-unit, and Walt Disney Television Animation. WDNT would handle primetime programming, headed by David Neuman as president. In March 1998, Walt Disney Network TV was placed under Buena Vista TV Productions, a newly formed group under chairman Lloyd Braun, along with Touchstone Television.
In late 1999, Walt Disney Television Studios (also called Buena Vista Television Group or Buena Vista Television Productions), were transferred from the Disney Studios to the ABC Television Network to merge with ABC's primetime division, ABC Entertainment, forming the ABC Entertainment Television Group. Walt Disney Television Studios was later folded into Touchstone Television (now known as ABC Studios) in 2003 while its name disappeared from new cartoons from Walt Disney Television Animation (now Disney Television Animation, which is now a unit of Disney Channels Worldwide).
- Walt Disney Productions Television Division (1983)
- Walt Disney Pictures Television Division (1983–1985)
- Walt Disney Pictures Television (1985–1988)
- Walt Disney Television (1985–2003)
- Walt Disney Pictures and Television (1988–2007)
- Symbol (1984–1991)
- Dumbo's Circus (1985–1986)
- Teen Win, Lose or Draw (1989-1992)
- MMC (1990–1996)
- Adventures in Wonderland (1991–1995)
- STAT (1990)
- Donald's Quack Attack (1992–2000)
- Mickey's Mouse Tracks (1992–1994)
- Mickey Mouse and Friends (1994–1996)
- Zapping Zone (1997–2004)
- PB&J Otter (1998–2000)
- The Book of Pooh (2001–2002)
- Zapping Zone (II) (2001)
- Stanley (2001–2004)
Disney Telefilms (DTF), or Walt Disney Telefilms, was a TV film production company and a division of Walt Disney Television. The division provided movies for The Wonderful World of Disney.
With the purchase of Capital Cities/ABC, Disney CEO Michael Eisner wanted to relaunch The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC in 1996 with a movie franchise. Walt Disney Telefilms was formed to produce films for the anthology TV series by 1995. Leah Keith was transferred from Walt Disney Pictures that year to the telefilms division.
Hollywood Pictures executive vice president Charles Hirschhorn oversaw Walt Disney Telefilms as president in June 1996, reporting to Dean Valentine, president of Walt Disney Television and Walt Disney Television Animation, for the Telefilms unit. Mike Karz, a former vice president of Mandeville Films, signed a first look deal with the company through his shingle, Karz Entertainment, based at Disney Studios in May 1997. On September 28, 1997, the division launched the anthology show. The division produced 17 films in nine months while it only expected to provide 16 movies. On October 5, 1997, Disney Telefilms' first production, Toothless, debuted on The Wonderful World of Disney.
The Walt Disney Television group, upon the departure of Dean Valentine in September 1997, was split into two units: Walt Disney Television (WDT) and Walt Disney Network Television (WDNT). WDT would be headed by Hirschhorn as president and consisted of Disney Telefilms and Walt Disney Television Animation, including Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premiere. Leah Keith and Peter Green were promoted to production vice presidents for the division in March 1998.
|Title||Release date||Production company(ies)||Notes||source|
|Toothless||October 5, 1997||1st Disney Telefilms movie|
|Tower of Terror||October 26, 1997||ZM Productions||1st theme park attraction movie|
|Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella||November 2, 1997|
|Angels in the Endzone||November 9, 1997||Caravan Pictures|
|Oliver Twist||November 16, 1997||A retelling of the Dickens tale starring Richard Dreyfuss and Elijah Wood|
|The Love Bug||November 30, 1997||A remake of the Disney classic|
|Flash||December 21, 1997|
|Principal Takes a Holiday||January 4, 1998|
|Ruby Bridges||January 18, 1998||A docu-drama at New Orleans all-white school, which takes in its first African American girl student base|
|The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon||February 15, 1998||Tony Danza as a trash man who would become a kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles|
|Goldrush: A Real Life Alaskan Adventure||March 8, 1998|
|Miracle at Midnight||May 17, 1998||Davis Entertainment||Starring Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston and Justin Whalin, a fact-based story in which the Danish save thousands from the Nazi|
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