Touchstone Television was started by then new Disney CEO Michael Eisner in the 1984–85 television season with the short lived western, Wildside. The next TV season, Touchstone produced a hit with The Golden Girls.
Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television were grouped together under Garth Ancier as president of network television for Walt Disney Studios on April 18, 1989.
In 1992, Touchstone moved into producing longer forms for TV focusing on more adult fare with its first telefilm being for CBS about Edna Buchanan, a Miami Herald crime reporter who would win a Pulitzer Prize.
On August 24, 1994, with Jeffrey Katzenberg's resignation, Richard Frank became head of Walt Disney Television and Telecommunications, a new Disney group taking Touchstone and other TV units out of Disney Studios.
In April 1996, due to ongoing post Disney-CC/ABC merger realignment and retirement of its president, Disney Television and Telecommunications Group's divisions were reassigned to other groups with Touchstone Television transferred to The Walt Disney Studios. By March 1998, David Neuman assumed the presidency of Touchstone TV. In March 1998, Touchstone was placed under Buena Vista Television Productions, a newly formed group under chairman Lloyd Braun, along with Walt Disney Network Television.
In 2000, Touchstone created two departments with comedy in September, and a drama department in December. While two of their pilots were in consideration for pick up on ABC in April 2003, Tollin/Robbins Productions agreed to a two-year development deal, which included a two-year option, profit sharing and outside sales, with Touchstone Television.
In February 2007, Touchstone Television was renamed ABC Television Studio as part of Disney's push to drop secondary brands like Buena Vista for Disney, ABC and ESPN.
In May 2007, ABC Television Studio was renamed ABC Studios; however, Touchstone Television survived as an in-name-only unit of ABC Studios from 2007-2009 until the final season of USA Networks's Monk.
In June 2009, ABC Entertainment announced a new organization, effective immediately. In January 2010, Disney–ABC Television Group announced it was cutting 5% of its workforce.
In October 2012, ABC Studios formed its Signature division to sell to outside networks.
ABC Signature Studios, Inc. (alternatively Signature, or ABC Signature) is the boutique production subsidiary of ABC Studios designated to sell to outside buyers for emerging and cable platforms with low cost and off-cycle programming. The division will develop year round.
ABC Studios was moving to sell to outside networks. As the studios had placed the former ABC comedy Cougar Town at TBS, and Devious Maids at Lifetime, Signature was started in October 2012 to continue the trend.
Signature developed Mistresses which was included in ABC's summer schedule and was renewed for another season. Signature was incorporated on 000000002013-09-23-0000September 23, 2013. In October 2013, the division placed its first outside project, Benched, for USA with a pilot order which finished shooting by December. Other projects were in the works with A&E, WE tv and TBS. In the works with ABC, Signature has a possible straight-to-series Stephen King story adaptation, Grand Central based on The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates.
Corporate sibling Freeform picked up Rated P For Parenthood for development as its first from Signature in June 2014.
In April 2015, Signature and ABC Studios agreed to a two-year, first-look with Black Label Media, started by Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill three years ago as a financing and producing company. McG's Wonderland Sound & Vision signed a two-year over all production agreement with ABC Signature, Freeform and ABC Studios in October 2015. This follows two productions from McG on Freeform/ABC Family.
In April 2016, Freeform greenlit Marvel's Cloak & Dagger with a straight-to-series order as Marvel Television's first co-production with Signature. The series, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is scheduled to premiere in 2018.
Another co-production with Marvel Television was greenlit in August 2016, with Marvel's Runaways confirmed for the Hulu streaming service.Guerrilla (2017) – a miniseries for Sky Atlantic and Showtime with Green Door Pictures, Endemol Shine International, Fifty Fathoms Productions and Stearns Castle Entertainment
Marvel's Cloak & Dagger (2018) – a superhero romance based on the Marvel Comics characters for Freeform with Marvel Television
SMILF – a comedy based on the short film for Showtime with Groundswell Productions and Quantity Entertainment
Grand Central – for ABC
Strega – a psychological horror story/soap for A&E with Gotham Group
Borne to be Wilde – a multicamera sibling comedy for A&E from executive producers Courteney Cox and David Arquette of their Coquette Productions
Suburban Shootout – a remake of the British comedy series for WE tv with Kapital Entertainment and Feelgood Fiction
Corridors – a supernatural thriller based on a treatment by Fernley Phillips won by ABC Signature in a multi-studio auction
Rated P For Parenthood – a modern-day musical parenting comedy for Freeform with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos' Milojo Productions and writer-actress Jamie Denbo
Marvel's Runaways – based on the Marvel Comics team for Hulu with Marvel Television and Fake Empire Productions
Mistresses (2013–16) for ABC; co-production with Ecosse Films and Tsiporah
Benched (2014) for USA; co-production with The Mark Gordon Company
Blood & Oil (2015) for ABC; co-production with Flame Ventures
Confirmation (2016) for HBO; co-production with HBO Films and Groundswell Productions
Dead of Summer (2016) for Freeform; co-production with Kitsis-Horowitz