Given the huge library of films and animated shorts that Disney has produced over the decades, a TV channel dedicated to airing that library would seem like an obvious project for the company to pursue. Disney thought so, and when the Disney Channel launched in 1983, the intent was to fill the channel's schedule with existing content. The channel's highest-profile success, however, as come in later years, when its original programming aimed at children and adolescents drew impressive audiences.
Original programming on the Disney Channel began early on in the channel's history, in the 1980s when Disney was still a premium channel available only to cable subscribers who paid an extra fee. The channel's real original programming boom began, however, in the late 1990s, as the channel transitioned from a premium service to a basic cable channel. Original series targeted at preschoolers, such as "Bear in the Big Blue House," and shows targeted at older kids, such as Shia LaBeouf's "Even Stevens," shared the schedule with classic Disney series like "The Mickey Mouse Club."
After the turn of the century, Disney's original programming became the channel's primary focus. The original movie "High School Musical" becomes a marketing sensation, and the original series "Hannah Montana" launched the career of Miley Cyrus.