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Trivia / Disney Channel Live-Action Universe

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  • Adored by the Network: Current-season episodes (especially by latest airdate) will be aired until you've memorized them, while older episodes will air much less frequently. Similarly, they'll have mini-marathons of various currently-airing shows every day (compounding the previously described Adored Episode situation) while any concluded series that does not have On Deck or Wizards in the title is pretty much viewable only through DVD/Online store purchase or Netflix/Amazon Prime streams, and even so the former is aired only on late-night dead hours (unless it's Disney XD) and the latter is barely in a better position.
    • To put this into some perspective: Disney Channel made a promotion of a Gravity Falls marathon that aired October 20, 2012 consisting of four episodes. The schedule for October 26 listed six consecutive episodes of Good Luck Charlie - essentially an unannounced marathon that was an hour longer than the promoted Gravity Falls "marathon." And this doesn't count episodes of Good Luck Charlie that aired still later the same day, non-consecutively. The daily schedule on Disney Channel typically resembles something like this with various other shows.
      • As it stands now (2018), episodes of a single show - Bunk'd - now make up almost 30% of the network's entire weekly programming schedule! Because they're mostly running Season 3 with virtually the entire remainder being Season 2, this also means episodes get rerun very frequently throughout the month to the point where you have a high probability to watching the same exact episode twice no matter what two different times you choose to tune into the network.
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    • The "Disney Replay" throwback/nostalgia block alleviates this situation somewhat, mainly with pre-DCLAU shows like Even Stevens, Phil of the Future and Lizzie McGuire along with older DCLAU shows like That's So Raven, Cory in the House, Hannah Montana and Sonny With a Chance/So Random!! as well as older DCOMs. Too bad for nostalgia fans that the block starts at midnight on Thursday (the block used to be formally called Throwback Thursday and thus barely fit the primary qualifying definition).
  • Executive Meddling: Most prominently and visibly, when all of the shows are mandated to have a common theme or plotline to promote said common theme (a "mystery weekend" where all of the shows have plots centered around solving a mystery or a "vacation getaway weekend" where all of the shows focus on the main characters getting away on a vacation). Don't be surprised if at least one of the shows puts a serious Lampshade Hanging on how ridiculous or out of place such a contrived plotline seems, if not a more blatant Take That! (the Scooby-Doo Shout-Outs on "Whodunnit Up?" being a borderline example for the latter).
    • The various crossovers being another example of Disney Channel Executive Meddling in practice.
    • So Random! an example of an entire show being created/retooled half because of Executive Meddling (the other half due to the departure of Sonny with a Chance star Demi Lovato - really, the executives were just trying their best to salvage the situation)
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    • The sudden season 2 retool of I Didn't Do It is a more classic example of Executive Meddling, with the main cast remaining unchanged but the old production staff being thrown out in favor of the staff behind Good Luck Charlie.
    • Many people feel an entire series, Raven's Home, was birthed from Executive Meddling, as the network wanted another nostalgia-feeding show after Girl Meets World left the network.
      • Many people feel the exact same way about Girl Meets World, a series concocted by network executives based on a serious miscalculation on what both old nostalgic fans and their children/new fans find appealing with the ultimate result not panning out or even getting egg on the network's face. Depending on how you feel, either creator Micheal Jacobs is either covering for them when he talks about coming up with all the ideas (including the show itself) independently, legitimately did so or for all practical intents and purposes might as well be lumped in with the execs regardless.
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  • Fandom Life Cycle: Most of the shows are at Stage 3 at best, though That's So Raven, the first two seasons of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Wizards of Waverly Place, Good Luck Charlie, and Girl Meets World made it to Stage 4.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: With few exceptions (most recently Good Luck Charlie as of this writing), every series has ended at about 65-75 episodes. Hannah Montana did come very close, though. More recent years indicate that 100 episodes and/or 4 seasons may be the new benchmark.
    • As of the end of Girl Meets World (approx. 70 episodes) it seems three seasons and 65-75 episodes is back to being the benchmark, likely due to how GMW highlighted just how much the Fleeting Demographic Rule is in effect after all (and with most new shows starting with GMW starting to have more appeal to the original younger demo Disney Channel traditionally aimed for). With the exit of Jake Paul (who always had stronger appeal with younger tweens as opposed to older teens anyway) from Bizaardvark and being replaced by two much younger actors and likewise greater focus on younger actors on Bunk'd, the remaining schedule has likewise shifted to a more Fleeting Demo with new shows designed accordingly. As of this moment (2018) Liv and Maddie is the last show to hit the four season mark and just over 80 episodes with a shortened final season (due to taping conflicts with Descendants 2). Girl Meets World, K.C. Undercover, Stuck in the Middle, Bunk'd and Bizaardvark have all either ended with three seasons or have been announced that Season 3 will be the final one, although Andi Mack seems the most likely show to hit a fourth season again.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Unlike Nickelodeon, Disney has never released a full boxset DVD collection of any of its DCLAU series, including its most popular and seminal series like Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Lizzie McGuire (However, there are boxsets for these shows but only outside North America). Some of the more recently completed series that still get big draws like Suite Life on Deck and Wizards of Waverly Place will be shown during the graveyard hours (and not the full run either - for example, any episodes that run past the standard 23-minute run time - including the extended finales - will simply be left out of the run altogether). DVD collections do exist, but they're typically just a handful of random episodes, about three to five tops to represent an entire 65 to 80 (or more) episode series. Other than that, just about the only way to see any older series is through YouTube or file sharing sites.
    • It should be noted that Pickle and Peanut, another Disney show, had a bit of Biting-the-Hand Humor over this policy, through this line from the Show Within a Show 90's Adventure Bear:
      Why don't you try running nine seasons, and they don't even make a DVD!note 
    • The older DCOMs (except for the mega-popular ones that practically define the network, such as High School Musical) might be shown during the Graveyard Hours even beyond what's mentioned above. Somewhat annoying considering that they tend to play newer DCOMs nearly to death during primetime hours. Averted during the runup to the Adventures in Babysitting (2016) premiere; as it was the 100th DCOM to be produced, they ran every telefilm that Disney Channel ever made up to that point, even older and obscurer ones like Tiger Cruise and You Lucky Dog, to celebrate the milestone.
    • Disney Channel's "Throwback Thursday" block (actually closer to "Throwback Wednesday" since it airs right at midnight) has helped get some of the older series and DCOMs some exposure, two episodes or a single DCOM a week at a time. The block was later renamed "Disney Replay" and extended to last during the entire Thursday Morning Graveyard timeslot run from midnight to when the Disney Junior block programming starts, but this means that nostalgia fans will have to either stay up all night or have their DVRs ready. Still its a massive improvement over the previous situation (which again was still a massive improvement over the situation previous to that, though it also means occasional weekday airings of older DCOMs are now concentrated to the Replay block). Disney Channel also hosting many if not most of the "Replay" episodes on their Watch Disney Channel app/stream feature (available for free to most basic cable package subscribers and on up) goes very far to finally alleviate the "Keep Circulating the Tapes" situation as well, though only for the series specifically designated for "Replay" and not for the DCOMs (though older DCOMs are occasionally available under the same app/stream from time to time under a dedicated DCOM area). Now if they can only do that for all the series and DCOMs!
      • As of November 2014 it looks like "Disney Replay" seems to be getting some serious cred with That's So Raven which got a primetime marathon on 11/06/14!
    • Some of the series are available in their entirety on Netflix, however in rotation (though paradoxically, some of the currently-running series including Liv and Maddie will be perpetually stuck on Season 2 or earlier on Netflix, though this seems to be almost resolved now, as the new seasons only appear a month after the show's season finale).
    • This has resulted in a somewhat bizarre Urban Legend about a tyrannical and Kamen Rider-obsessed near-Harry S. Plinkett-like figure handing out DCLAU (and Nickelodeon, and other similar shows from other networks) episodes on IRC channels in return for bizarre, almost personality cult-like behavior and production of internet drama - often said to be capable of producing these episodes on the day of airing or even in some cases before.
    • It should be noted that Disney, as well as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, seem to highly prefer to put the episodes of their shows on iTunes. Most of their more popular shows are on the service, in HD &/or widescreen if the shows were produced that way, but they still have a lot of their backlog from around or before the early-mid 2000s to put on there, though they have, slowly, been putting their older shows on the platform. It's most likely because they have a partnership with Apple, seeing as they include digital codes with their movie combo packs, &/or that it's cheaper to put the episodes on iTunes rather than produce discs for them. Plus, it's an easier measure to prevent piracy due to the copyright protection on the video files downloaded from it. Though not every episode is available from every show. While they make sure to get them all, some shows have one or a few episodes not on it for some reason.
    • As of 2018 Disney Channel has put up most episodes of most of their shows and practically their entire DCOM library on their DisneyNOW (formerly Watch Disney Channel) service (free to anybody with a subscription TV service - for the time being) completely and finally averting this trope for those in the United States.
  • Marathon Running: The ultimate conclusion of Adored By The Network as described above.
    • As of 2018, with such a comparatively reduced schedule (During the 2018 summer "Disney GO!" event to promote the DCOM Freaky Friday) and with only four live-action series currently in production or at least premiering new episodes (Bunk'd, Bizaardvark, Raven's Home and Andi Mack with a fifth, Coop and Cami Ask The World premiering the following September and effectively replacing Bizaardvark and/or Bunk'd anyway) and only two DCOMs for the year total (Z-O-M-B-I-E-S and the aforementioned Freaky Friday), the network's entire schedule ends up being Marathon Running by necessity, even when allowing for reruns of expired shows like Stuck in the Middle and Jessie (which are also subject to Marathon Running). This means Marathon Running is now du jour on the network to the same extremes people make fun of other networks that ended up virtually being nothing more but Law & Order 24/7.
  • Missing Episode: Hannah Montana has an entire episode ("No Sugar, Sugar") that was essentially banned after people who saw the episode on-demand complained about its depiction of diabetes. It was replaced with a brand-new episode "Uptight, Oliver's Alright" that tackled the diabetes issue head-on.
    • Jessie had the episode "Quitting Cold Koala" pulled from its original May 17, 2013 air date because people complained about its depiction of gluten allergies (the episode was made available as a special preview for certain TV subscribers through On Demand services). Instead of making a new episode tackling the issue head-on a la Hannah Montana the episode simply had the offending lines edited out (the entire gluten allergy issue was brought up for the sake of a one-scene joke) and aired the next month, June 5. Jessie also had a previous episode, "The Whining", pulled from the rerun schedule very shortly after its premiere after a Real Life nanny in New York killed her charges under circumstances similar to what was depicted in the episode.
    • One-hour specials and crossovers (which typically are an hour long or longer) have a limited shelf-life on the rerun schedule shortly after premiere because the rerun schedule has limited ability to accommodate anything longer than the standard 24-minute episode runtime. Episodes that run somewhere in between (like the Suite Life on Deck finale or the K.C. Undercover premiere, both of which have an extended 40-minute runtime) will be edited down to 30 minutes with the original length essentially being "lost." Likewise, holiday-themed episodes are very rarely found outside of their respective holidays. And most of the entire runs of series that have been out of production for years will go completely missing (see Keep Circulating the Tapes above).
  • Name's the Same: Seems like the Disney Channel production pool is limited to a narrow range of character names most of the time!
  • Production Posse: Most of the shows in the DCLAU are produced by the channel's in-house production studio, It's a Laugh Productions, which is why you keep seeing the same name for director or producer across multiple shows (let alone the recycling of familiar faces on-camera).
  • Screwed by the Network: I'm in the Band was abruptly canceled after one season, for unexplained reasons, all the while apparently being the highest-rated live action show on Disney XD.
    • A lot of people feel this about Girl Meets World, and to what extent and how is pretty divisive. Many people feel the show was simply screwed by the network in a straight-up example of this trope, while other people feel it's the other way, that the show and the fanbase it brought in/attempted to bring in was so disruptive it not only ended up sinking the show due to such disparate fan expectations, but took the network down with it by spilling that fan derision to the rest of the shows on the network. Disney Channel hasn't recovered since, as the plummeting ratings show (ratings going down at an alarming and steady rate since GMW's 2014 premiere to the point where, as of 2018, approaching a million viewers total is now a high water mark - compare to 2012 and 2013 when the network's top performers routinely achieved 4.5 million per premiere, a mark even GMW rarely if ever achieved.
  • The Wiki Rule: Truly without exception, all of the shows have comprehensive Wikia communities.
    • The DCLAU (and Disney Channel) itself has a Wiki, though it's infrequently updated and for the most part defers to the more narrowly-focused Wikis.
  • You Look Familiar: Due to Disney's practice of rehiring actors, Gwen, Mikayla, and Alex Russo were all played by Selena Gomez and Larry and Justin Russo were both played by David Henrie. Amber and London Tipton were both played by Brenda Song; Rico and Max's conscience were both played by Moises Arias; Samantha Samuels, Demonica Dixon, and Liza the photographer were all played by Lisa Arch, Principal Stuckerman and Herman Spatz were both played by Steve Hytner; Olivia Cabot and Jenny Majorheely were both played by Gilland Jones; the director in "That's What Friends Are For?" and Ash Tyler were both played by Stephen Full; Mr. Corelli and Burger Pitt were both played by Greg Baker; Archie and Derek Jupiter were both played by Steve Valentine; Leah and the Cracker were both played by Jaelin Palmer; Betty Jane and Nia were both played by Giovonnie Samuels; Max and Ally Parker were both played by Alyson Stoner; and Carly and Agnes were both played by Allie Grant. I could go on, but you probably get the point.


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