The Disney Channel is in a bit of a pickle now, which by extension means that Family is in a bit of a pickle now.

See, Disney has this model in place which they call the 65 Episode Policy. Basically what this means is all shows, no matter how popular, get cancelled after 65 episodes. The rationale behind this is that Disney doesn’t want to rely on the same ideas for too long. Disney wants to be fresh and constantly evolving. So for that reason we saw shows like Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens cancelled well before they theoretically should have been.

And then Kim Possible happened. This show had a rabid fan base, and when news came out that it was being cancelled, all hell broke loose. Angry messages were posted all over the Internet, petitions were signed, Disney execs received death threats, the whole nine yards. The result was that six months later, Disney renewed Kim Possible for a 4th season, breaking the 65 Episode Policy for the first time.

Once that precedent was set, Disney found that they couldn’t go back. That’s So Raven was extended from 65 episodes to a whopping 100. The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had 87. Hannah Montana will end with 93. Wizards of Waverley place is at 81 so far, with more episodes to come.

Disney has gone a step further recently, by creating spin-offs of shows to try and further milk their products. Hence 34 episodes of Cory in the House and 66 episodes of The Suite Life on Deck. If you’re keeping count, that’s 134 episodes in the That’s So Raven universe and 153 episodes in the Suite Life universe.

Disney seemed to realize that keeping the same series going is much easier than having to come up with new concepts every few years. Plus, you please the target audience by giving them more of what they want. Fans hated the 65 Episode Policy, so it’s understandable that Disney would abolish it.

And for a while, everything was peachy. Disney was on top of the world, led by Miley Cyrus, the Sprouse bros., and Selena Gomez.

But now shit is about to hit the fan.

Hannah Montana ends this Sunday.
The Suite life has only five episodes left to air.
Wizards is down to its final season.

And what is there to fill this void? Squat, ladies and gentlemen.

In the past, Disney has always been ready with something to replace their shows when they come to an end. When Even Stevens ended in 2003, That’s So Raven had just begun. When Lizzie McGuire ended, Phil of the Future stepped in to take its place. But this time Disney doesn’t seem to have anything waiting in the wings:

Cory in the House wrapped up two years ago, and isn’t coming back.

Jonas L.A. is on hiatus, possibly permanent.

Demi Lovato checked into rehab a few days ago, which leaves Sonny With a Chance’s status up in the air. There are five remaining unaired episodes, and after that the show would need to be renewed. There’s almost no question that it would have been renewed, but Demi’s body image issues may or may not throw a wrench into that.

So where does that leave us? Well, if nothing changes, in a few months Disney’s lineup is going to look like this:

Hannah Montana reruns
Suite Life reruns
Shake It Up!
Jonas L.A. reruns
Phineas and Ferb
Wizards reruns
Good Luck Charlie
Sonny With A Chance reruns
Fish Hooks

Not exactly the killer lineup that Disney once boasted.

So while they’re not exactly up shit’s creek yet, they’re certainly approaching it. The next few months are critical. They need to hit a home run, and they need to do it by March or April, or else they’re going to get hit hard in the ratings department.

May fortune shine on them.