“That’s So Raven Changed The Disney Channel in Ways No One Could Have Predicted”

“Some Hollywood careers are composed of phases so disparate, real mental effort is required to link them together. Such is the case with Raven-Symoné, who has recently enjoyed a high-profile second act as the resident firebomb-thrower on ABC’s The View. Given her tendency to rankle the Twitterverse with rambling pronouncements about ethnic-sounding names, among other hot topics, it’s hard to remember she entered the public eye at 3 years old as the beloved Olivia Kendall on season six of The Cosby Show.

Raven occupies rarefied air as one of few next-gen sitcom moppets to earn her place on the show rather than just occupying the requisite precocious kid slot in a family comedy. After landing the Cosby gig, Raven went on to make Olivia the anti-Cousin Oliver. But Raven’s most successful phase is arguably the four years she spent doing That’s So Raven, the Disney Channel kid-com so successful, it made the Disney Channel fundamentally rethink its approach to original programming.

Prior to Raven, Disney Channel’s “65-episode rule”—which almost invariably led to the cancellations of Disney originals once they hit that magic number—was applied to its animated and live-action series alike. The 65-episode model was primarily based on how Disney schedules its programming. With five original episodes each week, a 65-episode run allows new episodes for 13 weeks, allowing Disney to shuffle new properties in and out of rigid, quarterly slots.

Even though Disney’s live-action series—like Lizzie McGuire, The Famous Jett Jackson, and the Shia LaBeouf vehicle Even Stevens—premiered new episodes weekly rather than five days a week, Disney canceled all three after the 65th episode, leaving loyal fans frustrated and clamoring for more. But after becoming the highest-rated original in the channel’s history, Raven broke way past the 65-episode barrier, making it Disney’s first series to hit broadcast television’s 100-episode syndication threshold….”



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