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Disney’s One Saturday Morning and why it needs to come back

In 1997, Michael Eisner issued a request to the team at ABC: create a Saturday morning block that is unique to all of its competitors. Peter Hastings, who had just left working for Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, pitched an idea that all the days of the week were represented by gloomy looking buildings, with Saturday being a grand and colorful skyscraper in the shape of a 1. The pitch was ok’ed, and more brainstorming started. Peter also brought up the idea of using virtual sets, which he was very unfamiliar with. After some test runs, they decided that the virtual sets were a great idea and were thus added to the show and its format.

The block premiered in September of 1997 and consisted of 4 shows in 2 hours. Between the shows and during commercials would be hosting interstitials coming from “inside” the Saturday building. In 1999, the block itself got a spin-off with Disney’s One Too premiering on UPN. This 2 hour block reran episodes from popular shows from the normal ABC block.

The shows that were featured on both channels covered a wide array of different topics, and in some cases, a wide array of controversy. In 1996, Jumbo Pictures was purchased by The Walt Disney Pictures, thus Nickelodeon’s hit show Doug became part of the Disney company. After a 3 year hiatus from Nick, Disney started making new episodes for One Saturday Morning. Though many people were against the idea of the “New Doug”, it quickly became the most popular show of the block and spawned tons of merchandise, video games, a full-length movie in theaters, and a musical show at the then MGM Studios. Another controversial tidbit came from the block airing the final season of Gargoyles, which many felt was too adult for a kids TV block.

Other shows included the short lived Hercules and Tarzan animated series, the hit Jungle Cubs, the surprise hit Lloyd In Space, Pepper Ann, Sabrina: The Animated Series, and the awesome The Weekenders. The most popular overall though was Recess. This show is still shown occasionally on Disney Channel, it will never go away…its just that popular! 4 films were made for the show, as well as the characters having a guest appearance on the Lilo and Stitch series.

Due to poor ratings, the interstitials were cancelled in 2000. In 2002, the block was cancelled and replaced with ABC Kids. It originally aired original shows, but eventually became the place for Disney Channel sitcom reruns. This past year, the block was cancelled and replaced with a series of educational and environmental programming.

Now, I can understand why people would say “Kids have Disney Channel, they don’t need another programming block on ABC”, and in some respect, I agree. If you can have all members of the family watching one channel (in this case, ABC), they brand love would be astounding. The problem would be trying to pitch getting more kids programming on ABC when there is already 2 Disney owned channels dedicated to it. So, here is my idea. You bring back One Saturday Morning, with interstitials, to Disney Channel. You get an unknown to do the funny things in between shows, not a current Disney Channel star. You make it a 4 hour block, the first 2 hours being new original series just for the block (at least for the first year, then it can go into syndication or whatever), then next hour and a half being current stuff (Phineas and Ferb, Gravity Falls, etc.), then have the last half hour be a classic pick (Doug, Recess, Pepper Ann, etc.). The added bonus of the classic pick is that if it becomes SUPER popular, you have a stock pile of episodes ready to be shown at any time, and if you really wanted to, you could put the show back into production (I’m talking to you The Weekenders…).

Do you like my idea? Can you help me pitch it to the Disney Channel team? Can you believe Wayne Brady sang the theme song to The Weekenders? Let me know in the comments below. I’m am serious about trying to get this back on TV, so tweet the heck out of this article! I leave you with the addicting theme song to the original One Saturday Morning. Until next time, Have a Magical Day!

8 thoughts on “Disney’s One Saturday Morning and why it needs to come back”

  1. I completely agree. I would appreciate some classic cartoons in there too. Mickey, Donald, Goofy and stuff like DuckTales and TaleSpin. It’s kinda sad that they don’t even play Mickey cartoons on the Disney channel. Sometimes they show shortened versions with someone talking over it. I don’t really like that. Kids now days probably don’t even know Mickey’s or Donald’s or Goofy’s voice.

  2. Man, I haven’t seen that in a while! If I remember correctly, that one elephant had the voice of Brad Garrett.

    And yes, I’d be glad to help! Audiences of a younger generation deserve to know the pleasure of Saturday mornings.

    As for the original shows, I reckon the there should be a show or two featuring anthropomorphic animals, like Mickey Mouse Works. My suggestion? MC Skat Kat. It’s got the Disney Afternoon written all over it! Besides, I once looked at a comment on the unreleased music video for Big Time, saying, “I wish he could’ve gotten his own TV series. I’d watch!” I even have a few good voice actors in mind who’d be perfect for the series.

  3. Great idea! However, ABC TV does not even care on programming anything on Saturday Mornings. They now let the affiliates to fill the 3 hours mandatory FCC educational rules (E/I) and the network is now filling with Good Morning America, which is not worth to watch, because, either the kids are watching Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. The One Saturday Morning block that ABC TV had, was barely seen where I live, cause it was always pre-empted with local news. So, I may had missed some good shows from that block. I wish it was the 1980’s all over again, cause that’s when ABC had the best children’s programming and it was way before Disney took over.

  4. Can we make this happen? I have been stock piling these DVD’s but it would be awesome if these can at least go on the Disney Channel late night or Disney XD or Disney Jr.
    I miss CROW, Science Court, Teachers Pet, Aladdin (the animated series), the Little mermaid series, the weekenders, recess, PEPPER ANNE, OMG im getting nostalgic.

    I have facebook, tweeted and Google + this.
    You should great a tweet handle for it!

  5. I enjoyed One Saturday Morning, but I loved The Disney Afternnon shows. My kids may not know who Pepper Ann is, but they will certainly know who The Terror That Flaps In The Night is.

    Also, I don’t think that Doug was as good after Disney bought it.

  6. As a young adult, I thoroughly enjoyed my childhood that was centered on waking up early on Saturday mornings to watch my favorite cartoons. It is a shame that 90s television is forgotten to such an extent. Nick now has the 90s are all that on their channel late at night, and it would be a very strong push forward if Disney would do the same thing. I know ratings would skyrocket, especially by college kids my age who enjoy reminiscing. In our society today it seems that children are rushed to grow up, never getting the full opportunities to enjoy the pure bliss that adolescence has to offer. If Disney would reinstate some of their older shows, they could have a whole new branding technique and their sales could skyrocket. Dear Disney, if you are out there, please bring our favorites back.

  7. I think that Disney and ABC should bring back the One Saturday Morning Shows. Just the older shoes no new ones. Disney Channel really wants to focus on it’s cable channels, not supplying programming on sister channel ABC. ABC Kids would of ended in 2007 if it weren’t for one thing E/I requirements. I think they should market the new block, similar to Nicks’ 90s are all that. It could be called Disney Rewind. It would be marked as Disney’s Saturday Morning Favorites. Like it did when it first aired, it will meet the E/I requirements. Sadly, it would only be three hours, because it’s not very profitable. (Commercial limits on kids shows were part of the bill that created the E/I requirements) They have to report to the FCC what they are airing to meet the requirements so changing what they air every week would be too hard. I would recommend The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh (which was made in the late 80s) The Weekenders, Peper Ann, Doug, and of course Recess (two episodes!).

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