The channel specializes in television programming for children through original children's television series and movies, as well as third-party programming.
The latest version contained many of the classic elements from "theme days" to updated mouseketeer jackets, but the scripted and musical segments were more contemporary.
MMC had a stellar young cast, launching the careers of future stars Christina Aguilera, JC Chasez, Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Keri Russell and others.
At the time of its launch, Disney Channel was a premium channel that aired for 16 hours a day, from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Subscribers initially received a monthly program guide/magazine, though it was phased out by the time the channel began targeting itself as a commercial-free basic channel.
Disney Channel received a special citation from the United States President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
NBC picked up the series in 1989, retooled as Saved by the Bell, with Miss Bliss actors Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies and Dennis Haskins carried over to the new show; Saved by the Bell achieved major success on NBC's Saturday morning lineup (producing two spinoffs in the process) and in worldwide syndication.
In early 1989, the channel revived one of the company's early TV staples with The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, which was an immediate hit that proved Disney's basic variety show formula could still work, unlike in the short-lived 1970s revival.Though Disney Channel was no longer considered a premium channel, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association had long continued to rank the channel's subscriber base among all U. premium channels in its cable subscription total rankings rather than among basic cable networks (this total is now ranked in the NCTA's basic cable subscriber rankings).On September 1, 1997, Disney Channel took on a revamped look and dropped the word "The" in the network's name (however, promos often referred to the channel as simply "Disney" and the logo often omitted the "Channel" in the network's name), and split the network into three programming blocks: Playhouse Disney, comprising shows aimed at preschoolers; Vault Disney, featuring classic Disney material such as Zorro, The Mickey Mouse Club, the Walt Disney anthology television series, older television specials and features such as The Love Bug; and the most distinct one, running from afternoon to late evening for teenagers, called Zoog Disney, which used anthropomorphic characters called "Zoogs", who resembled robots (but the Zoog characters were given human voices) as its hosts.In recent years, the diversity of viewers has increased with an older audience, typically teenagers, young adults and young families.Since November 19, 2010, the channel is offered with an alternate Spanish-language audio feed, either via a separate channel as part of a Spanish-language network package sold by cable and satellite providers or via a separate audio track with the SAP option, depending on the TV provider.Soon after, other cable systems began to transition the channel to their basic tiers, either as an experiment or full-time.