So what exactly is the deal with “Hannah Montana” ? Back
in July of last year, Miley Cyrus made numerous Mouse House executives reach
for their Mylanta when – as she was speaking with E! Entertainment – this tween
sensation mentioned that the third season of this Disney Channel smash might be
Rich Ross, president of Disney Channel Worldwide, was
quick to dispute Miley’s claim. Pointing out that there was actually an option
in Cyrus’ contract that allowed Mickey to order up a fourth season of “Hannah
Montana.” And given the enormous amount of money that the Mouse was making off
of Miley, Mickey was definitely planning on exercising that option.
But then – last month – the Mouse House suddenly indicated
that it might be softening its stance on Season 4. You see, just as they did back
in Season 2, the Disney Channel ordered up additional episodes of “Hannah
Montana”. 6 more to be exact. Which would then bring the total number of episodes
produced for Season 3 up to 30.
Which -- if you were to combine the 26 episodes of “Hannah
Montana” that were shot in Season 1 with the 60 shows that were / will be produced
for Season 2 & 3 … Well, that would then bring the total number of “Hannah
Montanas” up to 86. Which then puts this show within spitting distance of 100
episodes. Which is the number that the Disney ABC Television Group feels it needs
in order to get the best possible price for “Hannah Montana” ‘s syndication rights. When
and if they actually make this show available to secondary markets.
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Anyway … That’s the scuttlebutt that’s currently making
the rounds at the Mouse House. If Miley agrees to come back to shoot a
foreshortened fourth season of “Hannah Montana” (i.e. just 14 shows. Which will
then allow the Disney ABC Television Group to have 100 episodes of this tween sitcom in the
hopper), Cyrus will then be allowed to concentrate on launching her film
career. Which – if Mickey has his way – will feature a steady stream of sequels
to “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”
But if the Disney Channel is going to lose its tween
queen to the big screen come 2010, who’s then going to step in and claim Cyrus’
crown? There are two strong candidates right now: Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato.
Copyright 2007 Disney. All Rights Reserved
Right now, Selena seems to have the inside track. Her
Disney Channel series – “Wizards of Waverly Place” – regularly places in the
Top 10 for cable television series. And the folks at Disney Consumer Products
obviously think highly of Ms. Gomez. Given that they flew this 16-year-old down
to WDW’s Contemporary Resort last November. Where Selena then took part in a
live question-and-answer session in front of 400 licensees at DCP’s North
America Sales Meeting.
But then again it’s not a wise move to discount Ms.
Lovato. Ever since Demi made her Disney Channel debut in “Camp Rock” back in
June of 2008, Mouse House managers have been impressed with how quickly this
16-year-old has connected with tweens. Her Hollywood Records album, “Don't Forget,” debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts back in September. And all
summer long, Ms. Lovato and the Jonas Brothers sold out huge venues across the
country as part of their “Burnin' Up” tour.
Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved
So now the big question now is … Is Demi ready for
sitcom stardom? Her new series, “Sonny with a Chance,” premieres on the Disney
Channel on Sunday, February 8th. And later this year, Ms. Lovato
& the Jonases will head back to the woods to shoot “Camp Rock 2.”
So who’s Mickey going to pick to be Miley’s successor?
Actually, the Mouse seems to be trying a two-heads-are-better-than-one approach.
Given that – this June – Selena and Demi will be co-starring in a Disney
Channel Original Movie, “Princess Protection Program.”
Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved
Gomez plays Carter Mason, a typical teenager whose life
is turned upside down when her father, Major Mason of the Princess Protection
Program (i.e. a fictitious organization that – would you believe it? – actually
rescues princesses) brings Princess Rosalinda (played by Ms. Lovato) home to
their house in Louisiana. The only way to save Rosalinda’s country (More
importantly, her mother. Who stayed behind) is for this pampered princess to go
undercover as average American teenager Rosie Gonzales.
Carter’s dad places her in charge of making sure that
Rosalinda … er … Rosie fits in. Which gets kind of difficult when both girls
are nominated for Homecoming Queen at her high school.
Mouse House managers feel that “Princess Protection
Program” (Which – FYI – is the 76th Disney Channel Original Movie
produced to date) has the makings of a break-out hit. Which is why this new TV
movie will be supported by a full load
Of course, Selena & Demi will still have quite a
ways to go before they can equal the amount of merch that Miley has moved. Just
last year, the “Hannah Montana” franchise (in combination with “High School
Musical”) racked up $2.7 billion in sales. Which was a $400 million increase
over what these introduced-on-the-Disney-Channel characters earned back in
So obviously Ms. Cyrus’ act is going to be a tough one
to follow. But even as the Company continues to plan to cash in on Miley
(Disney Hyperion officials anticipate that her book, ‘Miles to Go’ – which will
be released to stores on March 10th – will outsell last year’s
bestseller for this division at Disney. Which was “Burning Up: On Tour with the Jonas Brothers
”), the folks at Disney Consumer Products know that Hannah
Montana will eventually fall out of favor with tweens.
Copyright 2009 Disney Hyperion. All Rights Reserved
And even though the Company convened a meeting last February (attended by 80 different people representing every division at Disney) to discuss how to prolong the "Hannah Montana" phenomenon ... When it comes to its TV-based brands,
there's no getting around the fact that are just three stages of life: launch, build and sustain. And right now, in spite of Disney's best efforts, the “Hannah
Montana” franchise is in sustain mode. Which is why the Mouse is already scanning the
horizon, wondering who they can build into their next Miley.
So what do you folks think? Which member of the “Princess
Protection Program” cast is ultimately going to claim Cyrus’ crown?
PingBack from http://hannahmontana.biggersister.com/jim-hill-which-princess-protection-program-star-will-be/
These two have the inside track, but based on my tween kids, I think Demi has the inside track.
The thing with Disney is that they have such a plethora of young starts that are either under contract, or being evaluated for contract, that you never really know where the lightning will strike from. Miley had an advantage that her father was known by the tween's parents, so there was some connection that allowed the parents to be comfortable with Miley being a "tween idol".
You wonder when HSM4 comes out, who'll be the hot star? The entire Disney tween phenomenon reminds me of the "New Mickey Mouse Club" on steroids. Not just a single show to showcase new talent, but an entire netork.
"The entire Disney tween phenomenon reminds me of the "New Mickey Mouse Club" on steroids. Not just a single show to showcase new talent, but an entire network."
Not to mention, Instidude, that practically every single kid gets their own "hit, breakout" album. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake have to at least break away from the Mickey Mouse Club and look for opportunities to start their musical careers, instead of simply having Disney hand them record deals? Sure Disney might've helped, but at least it wasn't like now where it seems to be, "Here, kid, a free record deal with every starring role!"
That's one of the things that bugs me the most.
P.S. Is Princess Rosalinda's dress supposed to be a knockoff of Belle's or a friendly parody? That might hurt their precious doll sales.
Hopefully all these girls won't screw up and sink their own careers or screw over Disney like Lindsey or Brittney did. Hopefully they will be smart like Raven Simone is.
Disney is the 2nd largest media company in the world and if a young actor or actress can stay in Disney's good graces, then they are set.
I would think that Disney would want to distance themselves from Miley. Between her leaked cellphone photos, dating a 20 year old underwear model, dressing like a hooker even when she goes to church, and rumors of drug use, it doesn't seem like the kind of image Disney is going for. There's a reason all the gossip sites call her Slutty Cyrus.
I saw Miley in the Blue Bayou restaurant at Disney Anaheim a couple of months ago. She was with a girl friend as well as a 30 something guy who looked/acted like her minder. I've never followed her career and didn't know who she was at first, but my attention was caught because she was so pouty and sad. I wondered who could be that beautiful (and professionally made up) , be in the "Happiest Kingdom on Earth" and still be so unhappy.
Afterwards, I realized who she was and likely she was "at work" at the time. I imagine that when she finished her Disney contract that she'll never want to see another pirate, princess or Mickey doll again.
How about Disney just building on the next 'DuckTales', the next 'Lion King', or the next 'Gargoyles' I'm sick, and tired of Disney manufacturing all these stupid tween queens, and shoving them down our throats! I want Disney to go back to making good animation again!