So as most of us who've signed up for Disney emails recently learned, Disney Junior is now getting it's own 24/7 channel in March, 2012. To be totally honest, I don't know how I feel about this. I'm a mom, and the little tv time my kids get is usually regulated to Disney Channel and a few Nickelodeon shows. I'm happy to have more diverse tv choices for my kids, but is another channel with 24 hours of content really necessary???
When Playhouse Disney switched its name to a more "mature" Disney Junior in Feb, 2011 I tried not to read *too* much into it. A name change makes sense: still approachable, playful, and "safe" television content for the preschool/K-2 set. But now, this just seems like an obvious ploy for the Disney Channel to follow in the footsteps of Nickelodeon. Both tv companies will now offer channels with a teen and a younger "Junior" focus. Nick Jr. and Disney Jr. both have their 'flagship' shows (Diego and Dora on Nick; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney). Both feature "aquarium shows" (Bubble Guppies on Nick; Octonauts on Disney). And both channels feature shows written by Josh Selig (Wonder Pets on Nick; the fairly recent Small Potatos and 3rd & Bird on Disney).
But why all of the similarities in programming? Did the writers and execs from one channel jump ship in favor of moving to Disney? And why is this channel only being offered by 3-4 cable/satellite companies and not being picked up accross the board like The Oprah Winfrey Channel (just an example, NOTHING against Oprah!!)? Dare we hope that in the near future Disney will also be offering an alternative to "Nick at Nite" with classic 'Disney Presents' programming, showing black & white episodes of Zorro, the now-rarely shown movies from the 50s-70s, etc?
While I'm still unsure if I'm pro or con on this channel issue, I will admit that it'll be interesting what Disney has up its sleeve in terms of expanding the television brand.
Any thoughts? Please share!