Because of the loss of Nickelodeon programming for kids due to their dispute with Viacom, satellite TV leader DIRECTV has added Disney Junior as a replacement. Even if the dispute is resolved, Disney Junior will be included as a permanent basic channel in the DIRECTV lineup.
The addition was announced last Friday in a statement from Disney and DIRECTV. Disney Junior’s beginnings came last year as a daytime programming block on the Disney Channel, and became its own station offering 24 hours of programming a day this year. The immediate addition of Disney is to replace the childrens programming of Nickelodeon, which went dark along with 25 other Viacom channels just before midnight on July 10. Programming on Disney Junior includes cartoons and live-action TV shows, some of which are produced exclusively for the network, such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Handy Manny. Also aired on the channel are movies from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar. The addition of these movies outside of a premium channel context will be a boon for DIRECTV viewers, especially with the addition of the Pixar lineup, some of the most popular kids’ films in years.
DIRECTV was already planning on adding the channel to its satellite TV lineup, but it was added more quickly in order to help mitigate the loss of the children’s programming available from Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and other Viacom channels that went dark due to the dispute. It is likely that the dispute between DIRECTV and Viacom will be resolved soon, and DIRECTV customers will still have a new channel featuring entertainment for kids, on top of having Nickelodeon and those other channels returned to the lineup.
There is no word thus far if DIRECTV will be adding any more new channels in the interim as the dispute is being worked out.