DirecTV Picks Up Disney Junior After Dumping Nickelodeon

Mere days after splitting with Viacom, DirecTV turns into a real Mickey Mouse organization

Bye-bye, Dora the Explorer; hello, Doc McStuffins.

DirecTV has added Disney Junior to its lineup, the company said Friday, in a seeming move to replace Nickelodeon, which it lost earlier this week due to its pricing dispute with Viacom.

Disney Junior, home to such kids' fare as "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," "Doc McStuffins" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," will begin airing Saturday and will reside on channel 289, adjacent to the Disney Channel's spot on DirecTV.

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According to the company, Disney Junior has been "one of the most sought after channels by DirecTV customers."

Nickelodeon began suffering significant ratings slides in the fall.

“When it comes to children and families, nobody has the tremendous programming to compare with Disney,” Derek Chang, DirecTV's executive vice president of content strategy and development, said. “Our customers have been clamoring for us to add Disney Junior since they first heard about the concept, and DirecTV is happy to place our trust in Disney as a partner in building this exciting new family service.”

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Disney Junior, which caters to the 2-7 crowd, launched in 2011 as a daytime programming block on Disney Channel and expanded to a 24/7 channel this year.

The addition of Disney Junior helps plug a hole in DirecTV's programming that it acquired on Tuesday, when it dropped Viacom — including MTV, Comedy Central, and kids' network Nickelodeon — from its roster.

DirecTV said that Viacom had requested a 30 percent fee increase, amounting to more than $1 billion. Viacom has countered that that it had proposed a deal that would amount "to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber" during negotiations, but that "DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation."