When it comes to cartoons, Disney’s main competition has always been Nickelodeon. Although both possess an impressive amount of cherished content, the battle for 90’s era cartoons ultimately ended in Nickelodeon’s favor. Often thought to be the golden era for cartoons, although Disney would eventually win the war on animation with Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Jr, ultimately leading to the creation of Disney+, Nickelodeon would outright own the 90s when it came to quality cartoon content.
Although Walt Disney would usher in a new age of technology that would see a shift in full-feature animated film, their stranglehold on animation would be challenged decades later when Paramount Global introduced Nickelodeon in April of 1977 to television subscribers. Nickelodeon’s broad-family approach to animated television would put pressure on Disney, who would ultimately see the launch of its television network, Disney Channel, in 1983.
Disney+ Cartoons are Now King
Despite massive success in the 90s, Nickelodeon wouldn’t hold onto the monicker of “greatest cartoon network” long. In fact, it didn’t take much push from The Walt Disney Company to reclaim the throne once they launched a few additions to their network offerings in the 2010s. Since those days, Disney now produces much of their original content on their own streaming service, Disney+, which has become a focal business point for the company.
Although Disney heavily relies on its own material for programming on Disney+, which launched in 2019, they have slowly been acquiring outside intellectual properties to meet their streaming service needs. Subscribers now have access to plenty of Disney-created and owned properties at the simple push of a button or from the convenience of their smart device while on the go.
Even the cartoons that battled Nickelodeon in the 90s, like TaleSpin and Recess, combined with acquired Fox properties like X-Men, are available on Disney+’s relatively new streaming service. In addition to cartoons, subscribers can also find a huge array of Disney classic animated movies such as The Lion King, Peter Pan, and Toy Story. You’ll also find other acquired animations related to Marvel and Star Wars.
Despite the fight for attention on Saturdays in the 90s, The Walt Disney Company, much like Walt Disney Pictures in the movie arena, eventually won out, beating down competitors such as Nickelodeon. How’d they do it? By buying up everything they could!
Disney to Acquire the World
Nickelodeon’s reign saw amazing cartoons that hold a special place in the hearts of animators and folks my age who are starting to have back problems. The Wild Thornberrys, Rugrats, Hey Arnold! are a few of the keystone programs that American children enjoyed after getting home from school or while eating their cereal on Saturday mornings. As well, the 90s saw the addition of the still-popular Spongebob Squarepants.
To stay relevant during the “cartoon wars,” Disney, although they did develop their own content, took another approach. They’d ensured that The Walt Disney Company stayed on the prowl for appropriate acquisitions that could strengthen their overall brand. This, in turn, is how Disney ended up owning properties such as Marvel, Star Wars, and the Muppets.
Most recently, Disney even went as far as to purchase 20th Century Fox, giving them rights to even more animated series that subscribers can find on Disney+ or Disney-owned Hulu (partially). Rivaling Nickelodeon’s Ren & Stimpy, Disney’s acquisition gave them rights to popular yet crude titles like The Simpsons and Family Guy. It also allotted them access to multiple Marvel characters such as Deadpool and the X-Men, which they previously could not include in their Marvel Cinematic Universe without partnerships with Sony or other brands.
Disney is Bringing Beloved Animations Back to Disney+
Although you’ll find some of your favorite animation titles on Disney+ now, there are some familiar names that may be making their way to the streaming service in the future. Despite the 90s rivalry between Nickelodeon and Walt Disney Studios, Disney seems to be coming off the top rope to finally give a definitive answer to anyone questioning their prowess as the premiere studio for cartoons.
In a recent post by Inside the Magic, they highlighted a conversation between social media star Tenn Buick and Doug creator Jim Jinkins. Yes, we said Doug. Certainly you remember the kid with the amazing view from his bedroom? How could you forget the owner of Porkchop with the hilarious yet sometimes inappropriate grandpa? Yes, that Doug!
Doug, originally produced by Nickelodeon, went on the market years ago. Given the chance, Disney acquired Doug from the company that created the show, allowing the mega-conglomerate rights to disperse any new Doug Funnie production out there. And, according to Jenkins, that’s exactly what they plan to do!
Doug was a fan-favorite for 90s kids. Beginning in 1991, and running for seven seasons, the show introduced fans to the world of Doug Funnie while attending school in the town of Bluffington. The show, featuring great characters such as Patty Mayonnaise and Skeeter, was one of three original Nicktoons, followed by Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy.
‘Doug’ will Join a Long Line of Cherished Disney Animations and Disney Cartoons
As Disney owns the copyright to Doug, Jenkins let the cat out of the bag that a sequel series featuring many of the beloved 90s characters is in the works for Disney+! It’s extremely exciting news for those of us who watched our Nicktoons religiously when we were kids.
Currently, Disney+ only has the first three seasons of the original show available on Disney+. There’s hope that with the new project, the final four seasons of Doug may make their way over to Disney+ sooner rather than later. This would mean that Doug, the boy with a belt on his head and underwear over his shorts, would join the likes of The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and Mickey Mouse on the Disney streaming service. It certainly is a wild world we live in!
Disney+ Current Slate of Disney Cartoons
Despite the future addition of shows like Doug, Disney+ and their catalog is growing rapidly. With new Star Wars material, decades of older classics featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Disney Princess, as well as an onslaught of Marvel productions, Disney+ is quickly growing into a one-stop-shop for binge-watching.
The streaming service has already done amazing work to appeal to the 90s child in each of us by adding vaulted programming such as Gargoyles and Darkwing Duck; adding acquired products like Doug would ensure that many 40-year-old adults spent a massive amount of time being unproductive while eating cereal in front of the streaming service, well, maybe just me.
As Disney continues to build its service into something that we all need, not just want, by acquiring fan-favorite properties, Disney+ will surely see a bounce-back that would make the House of Mouse CEO, Bob Iger smile from Mickey Mouse ear to Mickey Mouse ear. It’s a win-win, they get our money, and we get even more Disney cartoons!