The show takes place a few months after Nickelodeon's series finale, "Doug Graduates/Doug's Bad Trip", where Doug and his friends graduate from Bluffington Elementary School as sixth graders, and begin their first year at Beebe Bluff Middle School, as seventh graders. Like the original show, it deals with the everyday life of socially awkward yet warmhearted Doug Funnie, his humorous best friend Skeeter Valentine, his smart, athletic, and sweet crush and best friend, Patti Mayonnaise, his friends Beebe Bluff, Chalky Studebaker, and the Sleech brothers, and tries to stay out of the way of local bully Roger Klotz, as well as his rival for Patti's affections, Guy Graham.
The show premiered on ABC as part of their Saturday morning lineup in the Spring of 1996, along with Mighty Ducks and Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles, a few months after Disney bought the rights to the network. In September of 1997, it joined the One Saturday Morning block along with newcomers Recess and Pepper Ann. The show also ran in syndication on what was left of The Disney Afternoon in 1997 for reruns. The show ended in 1999 with sixty-five episodes, which is the episode limit for most of Disney's TV shows. The show was re-run on ABC until 2001, on Disney Channel from 1998 to 2002, on UPN as part of Disney's One Too from 1999 to 2002, and Toon Disney from 2001 to 2004. The original series continued to be re-run on Nickelodeon until 2003, where it was re-ran on Nicktoons from 2002 to 2005, and is currently being re-run on TeenNick as part of the block, The `90s are All That.
In January 1999, the stage show, Doug Live! opened up in Disney MGM Studios, and was performed five times daily. Around the time, Doug and Patti appeared as meet `n greet characters in the park. Doug Live! closed in May 2001, along with Doug being removed from One Saturday Morning's lineup. Doug and Patti were retired at the park, however they do make very rare occasional appearances. The show was replaced by The American Idol Experience in 2008.
Doug's 1st Movie was released in cinemas in March 1999, however it was originally planned for a direct-to-video release until Disney decided to release it theatrically with the success of their competitor, Nickelodeon's movie, The Rugrats Movie. Despite getting harsh reviews from critics, the movie was still a huge success for Disney in the box office. This was supposed to be the first in a series of direct to video Doug films, but because of harsh reviews, the whole thing was scrapped. It was released on video only in September 1999 (depite the fact that Disney had entered the DVD market at the time), and there are currently no plans for a DVD release. However, they have now released it on DVD, but it contains no bonus features and a cut version of the credits.
The show is planned to be aired on Disney Cinemagic in the near future. Disney has no intention to release Disney's Doug on DVD anytime soon, however the show was available on VHS in the late `90s. Every episode of the original Nickelodeon series is on iTunes and DVD, as an Amazon.com exclusive.
While the Nickelodeon series got a fair amount of merchandise, Disney's Doug was a merchansdising bonanza, and had the most merchandise out of the entire One Saturday Morning block, with Recess in second and Pepper Ann. Products ranged from trading cards, toys, lunchboxes, clothes, and more. It spawned a few book series as well: the regular Disney's Doug series, which were chapter book adaptations of various episodes, Doug Chronicles, which were unique-to-chapter book stories, and Doug Mysteries, which were also unique to the book, with mystery plots not seen in the television series. Picture books were also released for younger fans. Comics appeared in Disney Adventures from 1996 to 2002. Toys of the series were given out at Jack-In-The-Box resturaunts in 1996, and then later at McDonald's in 1999 to promote the movie's VHS release.
While merchandise came to a halt in 2000, t-shirts of the series have been appearing in Hot Topic stores since late 2009, though they are based on the Nickelodeon series.
Changes from the Original
There were many changes from the original, which has prompted fans of the original series to declare this version as the moment when the show "jumped the shark".
- Roger has gone from a bully living in a trailer park to a rich kid and rival to Beebe Bluff.
- Skeeter had a growth spurt in his arms.
- Connie lost significant weight.
- The Honker Burger has been sold and has turned into Chez Honque, but Doug & friend's didn't have to worry because in Doug's New School, Mr Swirly opened an ice cream palor which becomes the new hangout for them.
- The Beets, Doug and his friends' favorite band, have broken up.
- Doug has turned twelve, and will turn thirteen by the end of the series.
- Most of the characters get new outfits.
- Both Doug and Roger get new voice actors, due to Billy West, their previous voice actor, not liking the new series. Roger's new voice actor was Chris Phillips, who was already doing Boomer Bledsoe. Doug's new voice actor was Thomas McHugh, who was already doing Lincoln (a more minor character). While fans thought Roger's new voice was okay and close to his first one, many fans disliked Doug's new voice, believing that he did not sound like he did in the Nickelodeon series.
- There is a different theme song (due to Nickelodeon having the original one under their copyright).
- The background music has changed. The Nickelodeon series had more a cappella background music, Disney switched it to more synthesized/orchestrated music. Some pieces of Nickelodeon's background music remain, though.
- The characters are now attending Beebe Bluff Middle School, having graduated from Bluffington School at the end of the Nickelodeon series.
- The episodes consist of one 30 minute (plus commercials) story, while the Nickelodeon series had episodes consisting of two 12 minute stories (with the exception of the first episode and the Halloween and Christmas specials).
- Judy's hair is somewhat longer.
- Doug has lost a slight bit of weight.
- While Doug was in practically every scene in the Nick series, he doesn't get as much screen time and other characters are featured in sub stories of their own, due to new format.
- Patti got a haircut. Also, her brown skin was darkened. This is a notable change in Patti.
- Al and Moo Sleech (two of Doug's close friends and former classmates) have skipped every middle school grade and are currently in high school. They still appear frequently, but are no longer featured in school-based episodes.
- Skunky Beumont, a character often mentioned but never appearing in the Nick series, becomes a major character in the show.
- The show is now digitally colored, as opposed to the hand-painted cels used for the Nickelodeon series, and the animation is smoother.
- A new character, Guy Graham replaces Roger as Doug's nemesis. But unlike Roger, Guy has no idea Doug hates him and actually likes Doug.
- Main article: Doug's 1st Movie