Playhouse Disney was Disney Channel's television block for programs aimed at entertaining preschool aged children, often airing as its own channel outside the United States. It was introduced in 1997 after Disney Channel's move to basic cable from premium cable, with a target audience of children ages 4-8. The block was replaced by Disney Junior, Disney Channel's current preschool block, on February 14, 2011.
Playhouse Disney started on the Disney Channel on May 8, 1997. On September 9, 2002, the block re-launched with a new logo and an animated yellow clay ball named ''Clay'', who's catchphrase was, "Are you with me?" The previous programming announcer was actress Allyce Beasley, best known for her role as Agnes DiPesto on Moonlighting, and also as Miss Grotke on Recess. On January 1, 2007, it received substantial upgrades to their on-air show. At this time, ''Clay'' was replaced by two monkey hosts, Ooh and Aah.
Every summer since 2007, usually starting sometime in May, Playhouse Disney's end time on weekdays aired only four hours. Disney Channel original series are aired over this time slot during the change of lineup. On weekends, Playhouse Disney still aired six hours.
In 2010, Disney announced that Playhouse Disney would be replaced by a new block, Disney Junior. Playhouse Disney aired for the last time on February 13, 2011. The last program to air was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with the final short series being Handy Manny's School for Tools. After that, Disney aired an advertisement for Disney Junior, and then Ooh and Aah's daily sign-off.
On February 14, 2011, Disney Junior launched, in preparation to launch a 24/7 network for it in January 2012. It will replace Disney's SOAPnet channel, which has a subscriber base of 75 million viewers. The first program to air was Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
- Main article: List of programs broadcast by Playhouse Disney
Playhouse Disney would broadcast 4:00 am to 2:00 pm ET (3:00 am to 1:00 pm CT) on weekdays, and from 4:00 am to 9:00 am ET, (3:00 am to 8:00 am CT) on weekends, each running a different schedule. They would feature 22-minute standard length shows, interspersed with short 3-5 minute shorts and music videos. Introducing each show were two monkey puppets, Ooh and Aah. Between these times, there were no commercials played during Playhouse Disney (though Disney Channel, being a commercial-free cable channel, does not air regular commercials anyway), though short "promotional spots" did run every so often, such as often seen on PBS. Between 4:00 and 6:00, when Playhouse Disney programs aired under the regular Disney Channel branding, there were commercials for Disney properties as there are for other Disney Channel programs.
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