With more than 200 episodes, Phineas and Ferb is one of Disney Channel’s longest-running original shows. The animated series showed kids that there were millions of things they could do in the 104 days of summer. The show is incredibly popular today, but that was almost not the case. Before Phineas and Ferb became a staple on Disney, the show’s creators faced a huge challenge getting it made. The show took more than a decade to get off the ground before Disney picked it up.
‘Phineas and Ferb’ takes place during one summer
Disney XD’s ‘Phineas and Ferb’ | Disney Channel via Getty images
Phineas and Ferb follows two brothers as they try to have an unforgettable summer. They reside in the city of Danville, with their sister Candace and their parents, Linda and Lawrence. The boys are believed to be around 8 and 10 years old.
Every day the boys take on a new project which is almost always very elaborate and ostensibly dangerous. This constantly puts them in conflict with their controlling sister Candace, who always tries and fails to reveal her siblings’ misdeeds to their parents.
The show’s subplot features a spy named Agent P, who moonlights as Phineas and Ferb’s pet platypus, Perry. Agent P works for a secret organization called O.W.C.A. And his mission is to foil Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz’s devious schemes. Agent P’s job and the siblings’ projects always intersect at the end of the episode to erase all traces of shenanigans before Candace rats them out.
‘Phineas and Ferb’ took 16 years to get made
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Phineas and Ferb creator Dan Povenmire once said he came up with the idea for a character, a triangle-headed kid with huge eyes in the ’90s while waiting for his food in a restaurant in Pasadena (via Ms Mojo). The animator showed his sketch Jeff “Swampy” Marsh. And the pair quickly came up with a concept of a fictional universe that served as the pitch for the show. However, getting the series a home proved to be a tough endeavor.
They proposed the idea to several TV outlets, but none was too eager to shop it. Povenmire said in an interview per Animation World Network that they pitched the idea to “four different places.” He said, “We’d get real close, they’d say no, so we’d put it back on the shelf for a couple of years.”
Povenmire recalled pitching the show to Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, both of whom said no. Marsh said they were adamant about bringing the show to audiences because it was something they both really wanted to do, and they thought they had something good on their hands.
After receiving so many rejections, the talented duo had enough and decided to stop pitching. However, in the early 2000s, Disney phoned Povenmire, informing him they wanted to pick up the show. Phineas and Ferb debuted in August 2007, nearly two decades after its co-creator made the first doodle.
‘Phineas and Ferb’ became highly successful
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When the show’s first episode, ‘Rollercoaster,’ aired as a preview, it garnered over 10 million views topping the record-breaking High School Musical 2. The show’s official debut in 2007 made Phineas and Ferb cable’s top-watched animated series premiere by tweens.
Phineas and Ferb continued to peak throughout, and although it got canceled in 2015, it has spawned video games, films, merchandise, and a spinoff, which keep it going today. The show has also received several award nominations, including Primetime Emmy Awards, Kids Choice Awards, and Daytime Emmy Award nods.
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