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As a premium channel, The Disney Channel would air week-long previews four times a year, as well as two free preview weekends periodically (with ads targeted to non-subscribers), in the same manner as other premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax and Showtime.
On December 1, 1986, Disney Channel began broadcasting on a 24-hour-a-day schedule.
NBC picked up the series in 1989, retooled as Saved by the Bell, with Miss Bliss actors Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dustin Diamond, Lark Voorhies and Dennis Haskins carried over to the new show; Saved by the Bell achieved major success on NBC's Saturday morning lineup (producing two spinoffs in the process) and in worldwide syndication.
On September 1, 1997, Disney Channel took on a revamped look and dropped the word "The" in the network's name (however, promos often referred to the channel as simply "Disney" and the logo often omitted the "Channel" in the network's name), and split the network into three programming blocks: Playhouse Disney, comprising shows aimed at preschoolers; Vault Disney, featuring classic Disney material such as Zorro, The Mickey Mouse Club, the Walt Disney anthology television series, older television specials and features such as The Love Bug; and the most distinct one, running from afternoon to late evening for teenagers, called Zoog Disney, which used anthropomorphic characters called "Zoogs", who resembled robots (but the Zoog characters were given human voices) as its hosts.
Disney tried again in January 1983, planning a partnership with the satellite unit of Group W, though the deal never came to fruition.
In January 1983, the Disney Channel was formed under the leadership of its first president, Alan Wagner.
The channel specializes in television programming for children through original children's television series and movies, as well as third-party programming.
It is marketed mostly toward young children, with the exception of their weekend prime-time block that is aimed at both children and pre-teens ages 7-12 year olds, and the Disney Junior programming block aimed at little kids ages 3–6 year olds.
Disney later invested US$11 million on two transponders of Galaxy 1, a Hughes Communications satellite, and spent US$20 million on programming.