Disney Television Animation

Disney Television Animation
Disney Television Animation
Type Subsidiary
Industry Traditional animation
CGI animation
Founded 1984 (as Walt Disney Pictures Television Animation Group)
Headquarters Frank G. Wells Building (third floor), Walt Disney Studios, Burbank
Sonora Street, Glendale, California
Number of locations 2
Key people Eric Coleman, Senior Vice President
Mike Moon, Chief Creative Officer
Barry Blumberg, Former Senior Vice President
Gary Krisel, Former Senior Vice President
Tom Ruzicka
Bill Gross
Sharon Morrill
Maia Mattise
Barbara Ferro
Lenora Hume
Products Animated television series, films and specials
Owner(s) The Walt Disney Company
Parent Disney-ABC Television Group (since January 2003)
Divisions Walt Disney Animation France (1988-1994)
Walt Disney Animation Australia (1988-2003)
Walt Disney Animation Japan (1988-2004)
Website [1]
The WDTA logo which is still used on the current television series produced by the company.

Disney Television Animation is an American animation studio that is the TV animation production arm of the Disney-ABC Television Group, owned by The Walt Disney Company, 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 mid-1988 and was its name up until 2009, when it has been shortened again to Disney Television Animation.[1]

The unit was originally formed as the animation production arm of the former Walt Disney Television group banner. Television Animation, itself part of The Walt Disney Studios, Burbank and formerly parented by the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, like all of the in-house/outsourcing television animation studios proved a commercially successful venture, as most of the animated series it produced and established were well-received at best and were successful enough to gain and earn enough popularity during their initial premieres (due to virtually-acclaimed promotional campaigns and groundbreaking receptions for their animated shows). The Television Animation studio previously had some immediate eventual success in 1985, when they successfully gambled with substantially higher budgeted productions which proved profitable ventures that raised the standard for the TV medium. In 2003, it absorbed the old U.S. Walt Disney Television group name, re-branding itself into a separate unit of its own that same year. Today, the aforementioned Walt Disney Television brand is still active as in-name-only by producing television programs internationally.

The studio is (or was) responsible for and exclusively involved in the production of animated television programming and other projects (including made-for-TV films, specials and short subjects). The company formally produced many of the cartoon shows airing on The Disney Afternoon syndication package program and the ABC Kids Saturday morning programming block of the ABC television network, but in the present, the studio is under control and under contact from Disney's cable television network Disney Channel to produce and program animated original content exclusively for the channel (as of late-2002).

It is headquartered since 1998 in the Frank G. Wells Building on the Studio Lot across from the Team Disney Burbank building (fronted by the Seven Dwarfs). The Frank G. Wells building was specifically designed for Television Animation, and has a film reel and filmstrip across the front of the building facing Team Disney Burbank across the parking lot. Television Animation has a secondary building located in Glendale on Sonora Street which they moved into in 2002, since the creation of DisneyToon Studios in 2003, both studios share the building.

Television Animation was formerly headquartered at the Motion Picture and Television Academy in North Hollywood, with a secondary building on Cahuenga. For a short period of time following the 1998 move, the secondary building was the Fairmont building next to Bob's Big Boy in Burbank. Television Animation is now split between the Frank G. Wells Building (third floor), and its first floor location in Glendale at the Sonora Building.



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.

But under new management, the studio, (originally known as Walt Disney Productions), formed in 1985 what was originally christened the Walt Disney Pictures Television Animation Group, but then was later renamed as Walt Disney Television Animation, to produce high-quality animated television series. They invested far more money into the television series than had previously been spent on animated shows of the time. 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 back-to-back 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 November 27, 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 co-incidentally 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 infinitely 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 and 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 noted WDTA series include Kim Possible, Phineas and Ferb, Fish Hooks and the forthcoming Gravity Falls.[2]

Most of the following shows produced by WDTA premiered on ABC and some on NBC, CBS and over-the-air in first-run syndication, and are (or were) currently being re-run almost every day on various incarnations 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.

Ownership and management

Originally, Television Animation was formerly part of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group, it has had been since then taken on by the Disney-ABC Television Group in circa 2004. Also, since November 2005, Walt Disney Television Animation is now a unit of Disney Channel, operating as its animation sub-arm, similar to Cartoon Network's Cartoon Network Studios and Nickelodeon's own Nickelodeon Animation Studio. WDTA is headed by Eric Coleman,[3][4][5] Vice President of Original Series of WDTA, he reports to Carolina Lightcap, president of Disney Channel.

Prior this president of Television Animation was Barry Blumberg, who announced his resignation in November 2005.[6] A restructuration on the four units of the studio had disappeared upon the role of Vice President of WDTA.

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 Walt Disney Television Animation productions

Disney television series

Title Original running Notes
The Wuzzles 1985
Adventures of the Gummi Bears 1985–91
DuckTales 1987–90
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 1988–91
Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 1989–90
TaleSpin 1990–91
Darkwing Duck 1991–92
Goof Troop 1992–93
The Little Mermaid 1992–94
Raw Toonage 1992
Bonkers 1993–94
Marsupilami 1993 in association with Marsu Productions
Aladdin 1994–95
Gargoyles 1994–97
The Shnookums and Meat Funny Cartoon Show 1995
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa 1995–99
Quack Pack 1996
The Mighty Ducks 1996–97
Doug 1996–99 Seasons 5-7 only, co-production with Jumbo Pictures, inherited from Nickelodeon
Jungle Cubs 1996–97
Nightmare Ned 1997
101 Dalmatians 1997–98 co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Recess 1997–2001
Pepper Ann
Hercules 1998–99
Mickey Mouse Works 1999–2000
The Weekenders 2000–04
Teacher's Pet 2000–02
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command 2000–01 co-production with Pixar Animation Studios
House of Mouse 1999–03 [7]
Lloyd in Space 2001–04 co-production with Paul & Joe Productions
The Legend of Tarzan 2001–03
Teamo Supremo 2002–04

Disney Channel Original Series

Title Original running Notes
Kim Possible 2002–07
Lilo & Stitch: The Series 2003–06
Dave the Barbarian 2004–05
Brandy and 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
Phineas and Ferb 2007–present
Fish Hooks 2010–present [8]
Gravity Falls forthcoming Spring 2012 [9][10]

Playhouse Disney Original Series

Title Original running Notes
PB&J Otter 1998–2000 co-production with Jumbo Pictures
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 2006–present
My Friends Tigger & Pooh 2007–10
Special Agent Oso 2009–present

Disney XD Original Series

Title Original running Notes
Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil 2010–present [11]
Tron: Uprising forthcoming Summer 2012 co-production with Sean Bailey Productions
Motorcity forthcoming Winter 2012 co-production with Titmouse, Inc.[10][12]

Disney Junior Original Series

Title Original running Notes
Jake and the Never Land Pirates 2011–present [13]
Sofia the First forthcoming 2012 [10]
7D [10]

Disney 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
A Valentine for You 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

Disney Channel Original Movies

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


  1. ^ "36th Annual Annie Nominations and Awards Recipients". AnnieAwards.org. 2009-01-30. http://annieawards.org/legacy36th.html. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  2. ^ "Disney TV Animation Builds Exec Team And Gets Pickups For 'Gravity Falls', 'Fish Hooks'". Deadline.com. http://www.deadline.com/tag/eric-coleman/. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  3. ^ "Eric Coleman - Senior Vice President, Original Series, Disney Television Animation". Disney XD Medianet. http://www.disneyxdmedianet.com/web/bios/display_bios.aspx?bio_type=executives&bio_id=234. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  4. ^ "Disney TV Animation welcome Eric Coleman on board". Animated Views. http://animatedviews.com/2008/disney-tv-animation-welcome-eric-coleman-on-board/. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  5. ^ "Disney TV Animation Brings Eric Coleman On Board". Animation Insider. http://www.animationinsider.net/article.php?articleID=1616. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  6. ^ "Barry Blumberg Resigns President's Post at Walt Disney TV Animation". DAPs - The Unofficial Disney Fan Club. http://www.dapsmagic.com/disneynews/disneynewsarticle.php?id=1634. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  7. ^ Walt Disney Television to create "Disney's House of Mouse" (2nd Series) - Topix
  8. ^ Kline, Ashley (August 26, 2010). "It's Time To Get Hooked" (.DOC) (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. http://www.disneychannelmedianet.com/DNR/2010/doc/fishhooks_082610.doc. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ "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. http://www.disneychannelmedianet.com/DNR/2010/doc/dc_new_120810.doc. Retrieved January 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Disney Channels Portfolio of Brands Shine in Annual Presentation to Advertisers". DisneyChannelMedianet.com. Disney Channel Medianet. http://www.disneychannelmedianet.com/dnr/2011/dc_kids_fam_2011_upfront.doc. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Disney XD to Premiere "Kick Buttowski – Suburban Daredevil" on February 13th". Crushable.com. Crushable. http://crushable.com/entertainment/disney-xd-to-premiere-kick-buttowski-suburban-daredevil-on-february-13th/. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Production Has Begun on "Motorcity," an Animated Series Set in Futuristic Detroit, to Premiere Next Fall on Disney XD". DisneyChannelMedianet.com. Disney Channel Medianet. http://www.toonzone.net/forums/showthread.php?274700-New-Disney-XD-Animated-Series-quot-Motorcity-quot-Airs-Fall-2011-on-Disney-XD. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  13. ^ "David Arquette Joins the Cast of Disney Television Animation's Upcoming Series "Jake and the Never Land Pirates"". DisneyChannelMedianet.com. Disney Channel Medianet. http://www.disneychannelmedianet.com/DNR/2010/doc/JNLP_042210.doc. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Disney's "Phineas and Ferb" Hatch a 'Platy-Bus,' Perry Will See More, Do More, Live More, Taking the Long Way Home This Summer". DisneyChannelMedianet.com. Disney Channel Medianet. http://www.disneychannelmedianet.com/dnr/2011/PAF_060711.doc. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 

External links

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