Alerting all parents! Disney Channel is gradually becoming another Freeform Network. Adult content is included in the new upcoming Disney Channel show "Andi Mack," which premiered last month.
The big family secret this program focuses on is content not suitable for a kids' network. This show includes enough drama to be categorized as a kiddie soap opera rather than a children's program.
According to a recent article in TVLine, Disney Channel's upcoming series Andi Mack will be Disney Channel's "most adult show yet." The show's storyline will feature a 13-year-old girl named Andi learning that the woman whom she thought was her older sister became pregnant as a teen and is actually her mother, while the woman Andi assumed was her mother is actually her grandmother. The first season will gradually build to the revelation of the identity of Andi's father.
While series creator Terri Minsky (creator of the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire) claims that "We're not going to say where babies come from," she adds that "I can't say for a fact that we'll never talk about sex ... We don't specifically say the words 'pregnant teenager,' but we have conversations about invasion of privacy and how she left home."
Indeed, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and the National Center on Adoption and Permanency were key players in helping Minsky write the show.
While the series itself may remain free of explicit sexual content, and the premise is only mildly controversial (similar situations were hardly unknown in real life, even decades ago), a deeper question is why Disney Channel feels the need to pursue such programming. Minsky states, "[The network] asked me for something different. They wanted to attract an older audience."
Why? What is wrong with having family-friendly content that is acceptable for all ages or even leaving a couple of networks solely for children's entertainment?
Very few networks bother to air anything specifically for children. Even Cartoon Network promptly switches over to its "Adult Swim" programming at 8 p.m. ET each night. And Nick Jr. decided to embrace the more "adult" NickMom programming block, a decision that devastated and ultimately destroyed the entire network. As one of only a few channels catering to children, it cannot possibly be that Disney Channel has a financial need for more adult viewers.
By choosing to abandon family-friendly entertainment, Disney's inexplicable choice to move toward more "adult" fare may ultimately prove to be a huge mistake.
This show is just the beginning. The Disney Channel is deliberately choosing to "move forward" and promote adult content to children. By choosing to move in the direction of more "adult" stories and content, the Disney Channel—and the entire Disney media empire—may be choosing to sacrifice something far more precious: children's innocence.
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