Disney to Put 20 Films Into TV Syndication : Studio Is Also Planning Second Package Using 178 Reruns From Its ‘Wonderful World’ Series

Times Staff Writer

Walt Disney Productions is syndicating 20 of its feature movies, including “Dumbo,” “Mary Poppins” and “Splash,” for television airing beginning next fall, the studio announced.

The Burbank studio said it is entering the TV syndication market with two major packages, one including the theatrical films and the other with a selection of programming from its prime-time series that ran from 1954 to 1983 on all three television networks.

Wide Use of Library

When Disney announced formation of its TV syndication division last March, it said it planned to make wide use of the studio’s library.


Robert Jacquemin, who was hired from Paramount Pictures to head the division, said certain “crown jewels,” such as “Snow White,” would not be syndicated.

Some other feature titles listed by the studio in a new syndication package called “Disney Magic-I” are “Never Cry Wolf,” “Absent-Minded Professor,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Babes in Toyland.”

In addition to the 20 theatrical films, the package will include made-for-TV movies such as “Zorro” and one made for the Disney cable channel called “The Undergrads.”

A spokesperson said that some, but not all, of the feature films have been shown on network television before.

‘High Network Ratings’

The studio announcement said that, overall, the collection has had “high network television ratings on first and repeat runs and scored highly in key audience demographic ratings.”

In its other package, called “Wonderful World of Disney,” are 178 “programming events” comprising animation, live action, frontier/adventure and true life/nature films, the studio said.

Disney said that, during its 29-year network TV run, “Wonderful World of Disney” had average ratings on all three networks exceeding the ratings of 75% of all prime-time programs during the same period.