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The Disney rule that caused “Even Stevens” and “Lizzie McGuire” to be canceled early

Several shows today air for hundreds of episodes before being scrapped. But if you grew up watching Disney Channel shows, you know that not many stayed on the air for long. As it turns out, Disney’s cancellations were intentional. Here’s the Disney rule that followed the cancellation of popular shows Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire.

TV stations and studios usually love to have successful long runs on the small screen. Typically, studios start making their money back after a show wraps up its fifth season. The longer the series runs, the more popular it is and the more money it makes.

However, this was not the case with Disney Channel, which had an unofficial 65-episode rule in the ’90s. According to Ms. Mojo, the network limited the total number of episodes even when its hit series received total reception. Once a show hit the 65 episode mark, the network would scrap it and be done with it. In case of Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevensthey compensated for the fan demand with feature films.

Fandom notes that Disney used this rule to manage the programming schedule and release more content. According to the site, this helped the network air four shows in a year if they aired every weekday. The 65-episode rule allowed Disney Channel some flexibility in its ratings and syndication, and allowed the network to reduce production costs.

When Disney Channel tried to cut costs, it hurt its viewership. So while Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire might have gotten the ax under the disney rule, another hit show, This is SoRaven, was responsible for breaking the rules.

The 2003 sitcom was extremely popular and was the first Disney Channel show to break the 65 episode mark. Instead of being axed after two seasons, This is SoRaven aired two more seasons. It reached 100 episodes before its cancellation. The network originally intended to cancel it after three seasons, but decided to add another 22-episode season in June 2005.

This is SoRaven was canceled in 2006 and its final episode aired on November 10, 2007. According to the showrunners, the show wasn’t canceled because of low ratings, but because the actors had aged out of the teenage demographic.

Given its popularity, This is SoRaven was mature with spinoff potential. The show initially received the spinoff treatment Cory in the house. This solved the problem of the cast aging as it followed Raven’s younger brother Cory Baxter and his father on a new adventure. Cory in the house only lasted two seasons and didn’t even make it to 65 episodes.

In 2017, the original title character and star returned for a second spin-off. Raven’s home, following Raven and her own children, has equaled the success of its predecessor – and then some. The series’ fifth season premiered in 2022 after surpassing 65 episodes in the fourth season.

TIED TOGETHER: What is the longest-running Disney Channel original television series?

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