It was established in 1943 as a radio broadcaster, and went into television in 1948. It was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 1996 through their acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. As of 2008, it is the most-watched television network in the United States.
In 1997, ABC picked up the rights to the Walt Disney Anthology series and revamped it to The Wonderful World of Disney, which aired from then until 2008. The series aired various Disney films and even some non-Disney such as The Mask.
On August 20, 2011, ABC showed Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, notably the first time a Disney Channel Original Movie aired on the network.
The channel has also run various animated television series by Disney on Saturday mornings from 1987 to 2011. In 1996, their Saturday morning lineup transitioned into a mostly-Disney-owned lineup, and became One Saturday Morning in 1997. ABC Kids replaced One Saturday Morning in 2002, but unlike the previous block, it eventually only aired reruns of Disney Channel series. The block was replaced by Litton's Weekend Adventure in 2011. In 2007 Touchstone Television was re-branded as ABC Studios, and became the main source for ABC's programming.
Disney shows that premiered on ABC
Original Disney programs
- Mickey Mouse Club
- The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Darkwing Duck (premiered simultaneously in syndication)
- Goof Troop (premiered simultaneously in syndication)
- Quack Pack (premiered simultaneously in syndication)
- Brand Spanking New Doug
- Mighty Ducks
- Jungle Cubs
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series (premiered simultaneously in syndication)
- Pepper Ann
- Hercules: The Animated Series
- Mickey Mouse Works
- The Weekenders
- Teacher's Pet
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (premiered simultaneously in syndication)
- House of Mouse
- Lloyd in Space
- The Legend of Tarzan (premiered simultaneously in syndication)
- Teamo Supremo
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
Acquired Disney programs
- Hey Cinderella!
- The Muppets Valentine Show
- The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence
- The Muppets Go to the Movies
- The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show
- A Muppet Family Christmas
- Muppets Tonight
- Mickey's 90th Spectacular