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Disney Channel is a cable television network that is owned by The Walt Disney Company. The channel shows programs that are made for family audiences, mostly pre-teens and teenagers. The channel began on the morning of April 18, 1983. Its programs ran for 18 hours a day until December 1986. In 1983-1997, the channel was called The Disney Channel.
Disney Channel currently programs shows targeted at preschool-age children on Monday through Fridays from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. ET/PT and weekends from 7-11 a.m. ET, called Playhouse Disney. During the summer months, the Playhouse Disney block ends at 10 a.m. ET on weekdays. As of 2010[update], the only programming featuring classic Disney characters is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Playhouse Disney block.
On May 26, 2010 it was announced that the Playhouse Disney block will be re-branded under the name Disney Junior which will later become its own digital cable and satellite channel in January 2012, replacing SOAPnet. The Disney Junior channel is a direct competitor to Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. network and PBS and Comcast's PBS Kids Sprout.
- See also: Disney XD
- PreSchool Programs Replace SOAPnet, New York Times, May 27, 2010