In a victory for couch potatoes nationwide, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ABC Television Group announced a multi-year deal that will give TV junkies access to news and hit shows such as Desperate Housewives and Lost on their mobile phones. This is a major milestone for the budding mobile TV industry, which is just now bringing popular, mainstream content to cell phones.

Subscribers of Sprint Nextel's new service can get ABC content on demand, or via three channels that stream scheduled programming daily, for a fee of $15 to $20 per month. The deal covers the best of what Disney has to offer, including video content from ABC Entertainment, ABC News, and Disney Channel. In a joint announcement, the companies noted that on-demand shows will be available the day after their television premiere, and some of the media content will include advertising.

The programming will be carried over Sprint Nextel's next-generation wireless network, which is capable of streaming video at high bandwidth and low latency. Competitor Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has launched its V CAST Mobile TV offering, and it's working feverishly to build out content. AT&T (NYSE:T) is looking to roll out its live TV offering later this year as well. Both carriers are delivering video content to mobile phones over a separate network developed by the MediaFlo division of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), freeing up bandwidth for voice calls.

The deal may provide a much-needed lifeline to Sprint Nextel as well, since the carrier has recently struggled to retain subscribers. It provides yet another way to monetize Disney and Sprint Nextel's core products and service. For instance, in Disney's recent first-quarter conference call, the company noted that it has sold around 23.7 million TV episodes and 2 million movies in the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iTunes store, where consumers can download the media to their PCs, Macs, and video iPods. Though other studios and networks also participate, CEO Bob Iger noted that Disney pretty much has the iTunes store to itself for movies and TV.

Thanks to Sprint Nextel and Disney-ABC, Americans no longer have to dig through cushions for the remote to catch the latest episode of Ugly Betty -- they can remain seated, and simply flip open their phones.

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As a season-pass holder to Disneyland, Fool contributor Dave Mock is on a first name basis with Mickey, Goofy and all the princesses, of course. He owns shares of Qualcomm and is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool's disclosure policy is as certain as death and taxes.