This was Television on April 18

1983: The Disney Channel goes on the air

Taking advantage of its deep vault of cartoons, movies, and other proprietary content, the Walt Disney Company launched its national cable network with the broadcast of Good Morning, Mickey! Initially a premium network, Disney Channel over the years developed a stable of original programming primarily aimed at children and pre-teens, including Kids IncorporatedGood Morning, Miss Bliss (the forerunner to Saved by the Bell), and the rebooted version of The Mickey Mouse Club that first introduced America to Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and other future stars. In 1997, Disney Channel shifted to basic cable status and began to retool towards its current focus on tween-centric original sitcoms, dramas, and movies. -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: Maria Bello, cop (46); Mary Birdsong, deputy (45); James Drury, rancher (79); America Ferrera, magazine staffer (29); Barbara Hale, legal secretary (91); Bob Hastings, police commissioner (88); Melissa Joan Hart, explainer (37); Jane Leeves, physical therapist (52); Dorothy Lyman, daughter-in-law (66); Eric McCormack, roommate (50); Laura Mennell, alpha (33); Hayley Mills, junior high teacher (67); Rick Moranis, sketch comic (60); Conan O’Brien, late night host (50); Cindy Pickett, doctor (66); Eric Roberts, character actor (57); Alia Shawkat, movie producer (24); David Tennant, Doctor (42); James Woods, attorney (66); Edgar Wright, director (39).

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