“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….”