Disney Channel is waving its series flag higher than ever this TV season.
When the new live-action original sitcom “That’s So Raven” debuts on the network in January, channel will have six original series on its schedule, along with returning “Lizzie McGuire,” “Kim Possible,” “The Proud Family,” “Even Stevens” and “The Jersey.”
“The big message from us this fall is that television as we see it is based on the series model,” says Rich Ross, Disney Channel prexy of entertainment.
“Nothing conveys that message stronger than the fact that ‘Lizzie,’ in 18 months, has enough episodes to be stripped,” he adds.
(Disney Channel produced three seasons of episodes in the time it traditionally takes to produce two seasons.)
“Lizzie McGuire” will begin airing Monday-Sunday at 7:30 p.m. this season, with original episodes premiering Fridays. “Lizzie” is on a roll, with a Walt Disney Pictures film even scheduled to be released thisr spring 2003.
Also on the series front, the kiddie net will begin an exclusive run of “Sister, Sister” repeats, which had been in broadcast syndication. The former WB sitcom likely will air twice daily, some time after 4 p.m.
Meantime, Disney Channel will scale back the number of library movies on its sked from three pics to one per night, Monday-Friday at 8.
The net, however, will continue to mount new movies, including the Halloween offering “Scream Team,” starring Tommy Davidson, Kathy Najimy, and Eric Idle. On tap for January is the Disney Channel original pic “You Wish!,” directed by Disney veteran helmer Paul Hoen.
As preschool block (6 a.m.-2 p.m.) Playhouse Disney enters its third season, Australian series “Wiggles” joins the sked after a trial run this summer. Also on Playhouse, a series of hosted, interstitial programming under the rubric “time” (Sharing Time, Use Your Noodle Time, etc.) will be incorporated starting this fall.