The 65th Episode Rule was a controversial rule that applied to all Disney television shows, stating that no show can go beyond 65 episodes (2 or 3 seasons). This rule angered many Disney Channel fans, due to the fact that many shows had been cancelled while they still had a large fanbase (such as Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens).
Exceptions to the rule
|Show||# of episodes|
|Adventures in Wonderland||100|
|Timon and Pumbaa||
|Rolie Polie Olie||74|
|Bear in the Big Blue House||118|
|Out of the Box||82|
|That's So Raven||100|
|The Suite Life of Zack and Cody||87|
|Mickey Mouse Clubhouse||114 (and counting)|
|Handy Manny||112 (and counting)|
|Phineas and Ferb||106 (and counting)|
|The Suite Life on Deck||71|
|Wizards of Waverly Place||106|
|Good Luck Charlie||79 (and counting)|
The cut-off point of 65 episodes may have more to do with programming schedules than any personal feelings about a series on the part of studio executives. With 65 episodes, one episode can be broadcast each weekday, reaching the 65th episode at the end of the 13th week (5 x 13 = 65). Thirteen weeks is one quarter of a year. Four 65-episode shows can be broadcast in a calendar year.
At the time the 65th Episode Rule came to the public's attention, networks were beginning to move away from rigidly-defined schedules, where a weekly show would run for 13 or 26 weeks straight, followed by the same number of repeats. This change has further been accelerated by the following factors:
- Dedicated channels such as Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, rather than relying on syndication to fill afternoon and weekend morning programming times
- More ratings-driven decisions and fewer instances of allowing shows to find an audience even if the ratings are not as high as desired
- Shows being cancelled before a current season is completed, requiring new shows being developed more frequently to replace them
- New technology like DVRs and episodes being made available on network websites, which allow viewers to watch shows on a schedule of their choosing
Currently, the number of episodes in a season varies from show to show, with 22 to 26 being a common amount for a "full" season. In addition, a season can be split into two segments, with the second segment being referred to as a half season (season 1.5, season 3.5, etc.) or even as a "new" season. All of these factors make it difficult for a modern show to reach the 65-episode mark any longer and can just as easily end with fewer episodes as having more than 65 episodes.