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Several shows today air for hundreds of episodes before getting axed. But If you grew up watching Disney Channel shows, you know that not many stayed on the air for a long time. As it turns out, their cancellations were intentional on Disney’s part. Here’s the Disney rule that saw the cancellation of popular shows like Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire.

even stevens
(L-R): Donna Pescow as “Eileen Stevens”, Tom Virtue as “Steve Stevens”, Shia LaBeouf as “Louis Stevens”, Christy Carlson Romano as “Ren Stevens”, Nick Spano as “Donnie Stevens” and Steven Anthony Lawrence as “Beans” on “Even Stevens” on the Disney Channel. | George Lange/Disney Channel via Getty Images

TV networks and studios usually love having successful lengthy runs on the small screen. Typically, studios begin making back their money after a show gets past its fifth season. The longer the series runs, the more popular it is and the more money it makes.

However, that was not the case with Disney Channel, as it had an unofficial 65-episode rule in the ’90s. According to Ms Mojo, the network limited the total number of episodes even its successful series received in total. Once a show hit the 65-episode mark, the network would axe it and be done with it. In the case of Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens, they made up for fan demand with feature films.

Fandom notes that Disney executed this rule to handle the programming schedule and put out more content. According to the site, this helped the network air four shows in one year if they aired every weekday. The 65-episode rule allowed Disney Channel some flexibility with its ratings and syndication and allowed the network to cut production costs.

One show broke Disney’s unspoken rule

As Disney Channel wanted to lower costs, it harmed its viewership. So while Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire might have gotten the axe per the Disney rule, another hit show, That’s So Raven, was responsible for breaking the rule.

The 2003 sitcom was extremely popular and was the first Disney Channel show to go over the 65-episode limit. Instead of getting axed after two seasons, That’s So Raven aired for two more seasons. It reached 100 episodes before its cancellation. The network had initially intended to cancel it after three seasons but decided to add another 22-episode season in June 2005.

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

‘That’s So Raven’ received 2 spinoff series


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Given its popularity, That’s So Raven was ripe with spinoff potential. The show first received the spinoff treatment with Cory in the House. This solved the problem of the cast aging out, as it followed Raven’s younger brother, Cory Baxter, and his father, on a new adventure. Cory in the House lasted just two seasons and didn’t even make it to 65 episodes.

In 2017, the original titular character and star returned for a second spinoff. Raven’s Home, following Raven and her own children, has lived up to the success of its predecessor — and then some. The show’s fifth season premiered in 2022, having surpassed 65 episodes in the fourth season.