One of the classic, now old school Disney Channel shows was That’s So Raven (2003-2007). This TV series starred teenaged psychic Raven Baxter (played by Raven-Symoné). Alongside her best friends Chelsea (played by Anneliese van der Pol) and Eddie (played by Orlando Brown) and her family, Raven used her psychic powers to get out of trouble… and sometimes into it.
The show is fondly remembered and was very popular when it aired. It was so popular in fact that it was the first Disney show to warrant a spinoff; Cory In The House. This followed the life of Raven’s greedy and scheming brother Cory (played by Kyle Massey), who moves into the White House when his father becomes the president’s head chef. But the show definitely couldn’t compare to its popular predecessor, which is currently being revived with the sequel show Raven’s Home.
It was Raven’s supernatural hijinks that kept viewers watching, and the show broke records (and was the highest-rated show on Disney before Hannah Montana), won awards, had tie-in junior novels, and even spawned several handheld video games. But many viewers may not know about this and other facts about this beloved show.
Find out what you’re missing in 15 Things You Never Knew About That’s So Raven. Oh snap!
15 Raven went to the same high school as Zack Morris
Raven and friends went to Bayside High School, a fictional school in San Francisco, California. They were represented by their mascot, a barracuda, and their basketball team was called the Bayside Barracudas.
The set and school name are actually the same in the comedy TV show Saved By the Bell (1989-1992). The connection between the two shows is further referenced during the episode “Double Vision,” during which Raven kisses a character who looks an awful lot like the Saved By the Bell character Zack Morris.
However, while That’s So Raven’s Bayside High is in San Francisco, the Bayside High in Saved By the Bell is located in Palisades. This connection may be because both shows were written by Michael Poryes.
iCarly also appeared to have the same set, though it is not called Bayside High.
14 Raven Originally Auditioned for Chelsea
When the show was first conceived, it was going to be called The Future Is On Me and it was going to star a character named Dawn Baxter. Then the name of the show changed to Absolutely Psychic and the lead character’s name became Rose Baxter.
Raven-Symoné initially auditioned to play the supporting role of the best friend, Chelsea Daniels, but she ended up landing the starring role when she impressed the creators of the show with her audition. It wasn’t until she was cast that the show finally found its name with That’s So Raven and its main character’s name changed one last time to Raven Baxter.
In addition, it came out during the That’s So Raven reunion that Anneliese van der Pol was not originally going to play Chelsea because another girl had gotten the part. But Raven got along so well with Anneliese that she ended up getting the role instead.
13 The Show Broke Disney’s Episode Cap
The Disney Channel used to have a 65-episode cap, typically making five new episodes a week for 13 weeks and then cancelling the show to make way for a new property (which included shows like Lizzie McGuire). However, after That’s So Raven became the channel’s highest-rated show, Disney realized it was worth keeping the series around.
So, That’s So Raven ended up staying around for 100 episodes. This made it by far the longest running Disney channel show. It held that title until Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012), which had a total of 106 episodes. Hannah Montana (2006-2011) came close with 99 episodes. But without That’s So Raven breaking Disney’s episode cap, those two newer Disney shows may not have lasted as long as they did.
12 Raven-Symoné Really Thought She Was Psychic
It wasn’t just the character of Raven Baxter who may have been psychic. In an interview with the African American Literature Book Club, Raven-Symoné talked about her own experience with the supernatural. During the interview, when Raven was asked if she ever felt she was clairvoyant herself. In response, Raven said:
“Yes, I have. I don't really like to talk about it too much, because it's a little personal for me. But I'm a very spiritual person, and I believe that there are amazing special gifts that people are blessed with. It just depends on whether you want to listen or not.”
This seems to be the only interview where Raven-Symoné talks about this. Is That’s So Raven truer to real life than viewers thought?
11 Alanna Left The Show Because Of Real Life Fights With Raven
Adrienne Bailon, who starred with Raven in The Cheetah Girls’ films, also played the mean girl, Alana, throughout the second season of That’s So Raven. However, she was written out of the show thanks to being “so bad she went to military school.”
While unconfirmed (but mentioned on the All the Tropes Wiki), it’s believed Bailon and Symoné would often argue thanks to The Cheetah Girls. Raven did not star in the third Cheetah Girls: One World (2008) movie so she could focus on her solo singing career while Alana did not return to That’s So Raven.
However, the two girls seem amicable today, and they reunited nine years after the fact during a Cheetah Girls reunion on The Real. Raven even greeted her with a dance move from the movie.
10 Raven Really Got Sick When She Had To Wear A Live Snake
In the very episode “Party Animal” of That’s So Raven, Raven tries to prevent a vision of her brother Cory saying he hates her by throwing him the best birthday party ever… which doesn’t go very well for anyone. Raven gets a bunch of reptiles to show-off during Cory’s party and ends up with a boa constrictor around her neck.
Not only was Raven’s character in the episode terrified of snakes, but Raven-Symoné herself has a huge fear of snakes. According to a New York Times article, Raven had a really hard time shooting the scene and she even said, “The sick faces I’m making are for real.” She also burst into tears when the boa constrictor was first put around her.
She's definitely a dedicated actress, so it’s a good thing Raven decided to stick around for the rest of the show!
9 The Show Won 14 Awards And Was Nominated For Two Emmys
That’s So Raven won a lot of awards and was honored with some nominations for others as well. It was originally nominated for Outstanding Children’s Program by the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2005 and 2007. It was also nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series by the BET Comedy Awards in 2004 and 2005.
The show did win an award from the Casting Society of America, USA for Best Children’s Programming in 2005. That same year it also won a Genesis Award for Children’s Programming (for the episode “A Goat’s Tale”) in 2005. That’s So Raven also won many Image Awards. First it won for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program in 2004, 2005 and in 2006. Then, in 2007 and 2008, the show won an Image Award for Outstanding Children’s Program. It also won a few Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite TV Actress in 2004 and 2005.
Finally, the show won two Young Artist Awards, one in 2005 for Best Performance in a Television Series - Guest Starring Young Actor (given to guest-star Christopher Malpede) and another in 2007 for Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Leading Young Actor (given to Kyle Massey for his performance as Cory).
8 Raven’s Mother Left The Show For Her Grandmother
Raven’s mother on the show was played by T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh, who sadly had to leave after portraying Tanya Baxter for three seasons of That’s So Raven. There were various rumors as to why T’Keyah left, some suggesting she was bored or unhappy while on the show. However, an interview she did with Madame Noire revealed the two real and tragic reasons why T’Keyah left the show.
According to the interview with Madame Noire, T’Keyah was a constant caretaker for her grandmother. She would actually bring her to the set so Kyle Massey and Orlando Brown could watch her while they were shooting. Talk about a devoted cast!
T’Keyah only signed on to do three seasons before the show unexpectedly did so well that it warranted more, but there was still “no choice to make, really between work and her.” T’Keyah said. She continued: “So I chose her and focused on her care. And that became my life until she passed away. And after that, I just didn’t want to work.”
7 Some Guest Stars On The Show That You Forgot About
There were a lot of guest stars who showed up on That’s So Raven that may surprise you. There was Steven Anthony Lawrence in the episode “Wake Up Victor” who went on to play Beans on Even Stevens (2000-2003). Then there was Kirsten Storms in the episode “The Parties” before she was on General Hospital (1963-).
Brenda Song, before becoming London Tipton on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (2005-2008), showed up in the episode “A Dog by Any Other Name”. A bigger role went to David Henrie, who played Cory’s frien for twelve episodes. This was before he would go on to star in the show that surpassed this one in episode: Wizards of Waverly Place. Then there was Cody Linley in “Five Finger Discount”, who also played Jake Ryan on Hannah Montana.
Some arguably more recognizable names included Haylie Duff. After appearing in Napoleon Dynamite (2004), she appeared in “He’s Got Power.” Even American Idol (2002-) judge Paula Abdul got into the action and played a talent show host in “The Road to Audition.” And there are still more, including Candace Cameron Bure (Full House), Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls), Michael Copon (Power Rangers: Time Force), and Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl).
6 That’s So Raven Spawned Several Handheld Games
Yes, there were actually several handheld video games based on the That’s So Raven show. Developed by Disney, the first That’s So Raven game came out in 2004 on the Game Boy Advance. Players get to step into Raven’s shoes, have psychic visions and use them to put a stop to trouble. There was even a sequel game, That’s So Raven 2: Supernatural Style in 2005. In this game, you play as Raven once again, but this time you need to find accessories to finish Raven’s fashion line and get her to a fashion show.
That’s So Raven jumped to the DS with the point-and-click video game That’s So Raven: Psychic on the Scene in 2006. Surprisingly, these games actually have really good reviews, with IGN saying, “Raven's first trip to the DS is a treat for fans of her series, so if you or someone on your shopping list is counted among that audience, pick it up.”
5 Bizarre Fan Theories Have Emerged
No show is complete without fans coming up with creative and downright bizarre fan theories that take the series in a completely new direction, suggesting things such as Raven’s “visions” not being real but actually being signs of schizophrenia. Sometimes these are fun theories and other times they make you want to take a shower to scrub the griminess off you.
One of the more creative theories concerns Raven’s fantastic ability to pull off some really amazing disguises over the course of the show. This led to Reddit user TrueKNite suggesting Raven Baxter is actually Raven Darkholme (aka Mystique from X-Men). Yep. This user suggests that “Raven artificially ages herself along with the people she's around the most to match her age, and no one truely knows how old she is, this could potentially play onto the Apocalypse storyline if she's REALLY old.” The user goes on to talk about Raven being Nightcrawler’s mother and meeting Charles when she is older than previously believed.
Mystique or not, Raven should definitely join the X-Men.
4 There Were That’s So Raven Junior Novels
Disney definitely takes advantage when it comes to merchandising their movies and TV shows. In addition to video games, That’s So Raven had a GirlTalk board game, a clothing line, bedroom sets and perfumes. All this merchandising was actually inspired by Lizzie McGuire.
They also made That’s So Raven junior novels. These were numbered paperbacks aimed at 8-12 year olds. There were about 20 books and they included not just novelizations of episodes but also full-color photos from the show. So if fans want to flip pages instead of keeping their eyes glued to the TV, they could still enjoy some stories from That’s So Raven. Because people like that still exist… right?
So crack open a book and join Raven on her psychic adventure! Or buy her perfume so you’ll… smell like a psychic, I guess.
3 What Happened To Some Of The Actors From That’s So Raven
Raven-Symoné has done a lot of work after That’s So Raven. She was a regular on The View, played Charisse Dolittle in both of the Dr. Dolittle movies and starred and sang in The Cheetah Girls movies as Galleria. Raven also did plenty of voice-acting work, including taking on the role of Monique in Kim Possible (2002-2007) and Iridessa in the Tinker Bell movies.
After That’s So Raven, Anneliese Van Der Pol made her Broadway debut as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She also continued working in TV, with shows like Shalom Sesame (2010-2011), which was a Jewish version of Sesame Street (1969-). Anneliese appeared in a few films, including Cats Dancing on Jupiter (2015) and the comedy Vampires Suck (2010).
Kyle Massey starred in the spin-off series Cory in the House (2007-2008). He also voiced Milo in the TV series Fish Hooks (2010-2014). He has guest-starred on shows such as Gotham (2014-) and Being Mary Jane (2013-). Recently, he appeared in the comedy movie Ripped (2017) and the action flick Lowlifes (2017).
Orlando Brown mostly had small roles in a few movies like Straight Outta Compton (2015) but was arrested on suspicion of battery, drug possession, and resisting arrest.
2 That’s So Raven Almost Had A Movie
That’s So Raven tried to capitalize on its success as The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003) had before it. However, the project never came to be, and people found out more details about the failed attempt when Anneliese Van Der Pol, the actress who played Chelsea, revealed some information about it during an interview about her new movie Vampires Suck (2010).
In her interview with Movie Web, Anneliese Van Der Pol mentioned how people were talking about their being a That’s So Raven movie, and how “At the time they were talking about that, Raven was super busy doing concerts. She was on tour when we wrapped doing all five seasons of That's So Raven.” She went on to say that “They had written the movie. But she was so busy for a good solid year. I think it just fell by the wayside. I think it would have been great.”
She also revealed a few details about the story, which involved Raven going to France. “She was going to start a fashion line in France,” Anneliese said. “Eddie and I were going to fly out and meet her. Of course, something tragic happens. We have to rescue the situation.”
It looks like we won’t get to see Raven in France, but we will get to see her again, since now—
1 That’s So Raven Has A Sequel Series: Raven’s Home
That’s right That’s So Raven fans— a whole new generation will get to experience the show now that it has returned with the sequel series Raven’s Home! Raven-Symoné reprises her role as the now-single mother Raven and Anneliese van der Pol reprises the role of her best friend Chelsea, who is also a single mother. The two are both divorced and are living together with their children in Chicago. Things get even more complicated when they discover one of Raven’s twins, Booker (played by Issac Ryan Brown) has inherited her psychic powers.
Raven-Symoné actually left her job at The View in October 2016 to work on the show full time. It premiered on the Disney Channel on July 21, 2017. So far, the show has received very positive reviews. Sites like Common Sense Media are commenting, “Disney's favorite leading ladies makes a triumphant return to the screen in this spin-off that's excellent family entertainment.”
Do you remember any trivia from That's So Raven that we missed? Sound off in the comments!