Did Disney Channel and The WB follow a similar trajectory?


Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2014
The Disney Channel for the longest time, was The Walt Disney Company's flagship tv property. Originally being a channel for Disney characters and content aimed at a family audience, it has since pivoted to producing live-action "tween" shows staring squeaky-clean teens and preteens in neon-colored outfits spouting sassy one-liners to an audience of canned laughter. Very little traditional Disney content was shown on the network in its later years, and it had little to do with Disney other than the name. It was a direction that Disney fans resented, but one that was necessary for the channel to survive against its competition.

But Disney's longtime rival, Warner Bros. Entertainment, also had a branded TV network with The WB (now The CW). Similar to Disney Channel, The WB was originally geared towards a family demographic, with a heavy emphasis on sitcoms. But in the late 90s, it experienced success with teen dramas like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Dawson's Creek, which resulted in the network going all in on angsty shows staring obvious 20-somethings pretending to be High School students. Aside from Michigan J. Frog and the name, the network practically had nothing to do with what people normally associate with "Warner Bros."

It's a very similar trajectory Disney Channel followed. I think the main difference being that Disney Channel's demographic had gotten increasingly younger over the years, while The WB spent its later years trying to move beyond its "teen" image and cater to an older audience.


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