Pasadena, Calif.— Although High School Musical has received mountains of publicity for its success both as a TV movie and a CD of original music, the first Disney Channel movie to spin off a successful album was The Cheetah Girls, starring That’s So Raven star Raven-Symone.
To build on that success, the channel filmed The Cheetah Girls 2, setting the tweener girl’s film in Barcelona.
Although network executives used words like “franchise” when talking about the films at the summer Television Critics Association meeting here, they noted that there is no “part three” currently in development. The Cheetah Girls focuses on the lives of the members of an aspiring girl group.
OTHER DISNEY NEWS
Also from the Mouse House:
- Disney Channel ordered a second season of its preschooler series, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
- A computer-generated animation series for preschoolers, Handy Manny, will debut Sept. 16. Wilmer Valderrama (That ’70s Show) will voice the title character in the multicultural series.
- Short-form series Johnny and the Sprites, featuring Tony Award-winning puppeteer John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), will be expanded to a half-hour series, debuting in the “Playhouse Disney” block early next year.
- A new action/adventure/comedy series, Yin Yang Yo!, will take over Toon Disney all through Labor Day before settling into its weeknight slot during the “Jetix” block on the channel. The stars are two “hyperkinetic tween rabbits” who battle evil. The series is available for preview now on the Jetix Web site (tv.disney.go.com/jetix/index.html).
- Production has begun on a new animated comedy series, Phineas and Ferb. The title characters are stepbrothers who entertain themselves by building things like a backyard roller coaster.
Meanwhile, another The Walt Disney Co.-owned cable network, ABC Family, said it will launch an online game based on characters in one of its fall movies, Fallen, which executives anticipate will enhance understanding of and interest in the characters in the film in advance of five more episodes next summer.
The six episodes are based on a series of books by Tom Sniegoski about an orphan teen-ager who discovers that he’s half-man, half-angel and is pursued by evil forces that want to kill him.
ABC Family president Paul Lee called it an “alternative reality game.” The game, and clues to get viewers going, will be announced at the end of Fallen’s debut July 24.
That isn’t ABC Family’s only science-fiction/fantasy-tinged original. An hour-long series, Three Moons Over Milford, will begin Aug. 6.
The premise: An asteroid has hit the moon, cleaving it into three parts, the debris from which could destroy Earth at any time. The series will focus on the Davis family (Elizabeth McGovern plays the mom), who are coping with the fact the world could end any minute. Eight episodes have been ordered to date.
'KYLE XY’ SCORED
The channel hopes to continue building on the attention it got for recently debuted Kyle XY, which also aired on ABC and was streamed on Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store.
The latter was a “good strategy,” Lee said after ABC Family’s panel at the Television Critics Association meeting here, adding the debut episode gained a 2.0 rating.
“We’ve never done that before,” he said.
Another possible sign of Kyle XY’s success is a parody on YouTube (www.youtube.com).