Well, if this is really the case, then someone needs to make
the executives in charge of the Disney Channel aware of those other six ideas.
Because the suits at that cable channel seem to have grown overly fond of recycling
that star-crossed-lovers / “Romeo & Juliet” routine.
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved
Don’t believe me? Then let’s talk about that recently
announced “Camp Rock” sequel, "Camp Rock 2: Final Jam.” This Disney
Channel Original goes into production later this summer and will debut on that
cable channel in the Spring of 2010.
Featuring a script by Dan Berendsen with Karin Gist &
Regina Hicks, “Camp Rock 2: Final Jam” sends Demi Lovato and Joe, Kevin &
Nick Jonas’ characters back to the woods. Where they then discover that many of
their Camp Rock bunkmates have bailed on the place.
Opting instead to spend their summers at far trendier digs right across the
way, Camp Star.
“So where do the Montagues & the Capulets come in?,” you
ask. Well, that’s when Nate (Nick Jonas) falls in love with Dana (newcomer
Chloe Bridges), the daughter of Camp Star's owner.
Meanwhile, on a complete separate development track, we have
“High School Musical 4.” And even though “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” was
a hugely successful theatrical release (During its domestic run, “HSM3” had the
highest opening weekend totals ever for a new movie musical. With this Kenny Ortega film then going on to
earn over $250 million at the worldwide box office), this franchise will be returning
to its cable television roots in 2010.
If all goes according to plan, “High School Musical: East
Meets West” will go into production in Utah during the latter part of 2009 and
then air on the Disney Channel sometime next Fall. And as for this Disney
Channel Original’s storyline …
Well, according to what Mouse House insiders have told me
about the teleplay that Peter
Barsocchini (who wrote the first three installments of the “HSM” series) has
written, “High School Musical: East Meets West” will also drift into
Capulet-and-Montague territory. With “HSM4” touching on the
previously-unmentioned heated cross-town school rivalry between the East High
Wildcats and the West High Knights.
(L to R) Matt Prokop, Justin Martin and Jemma-McKenzie-Brown from "High School Musical 3: Senior Year." Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved
To be fair here, Barsocchini and his writing partners aren’t
“borrowing” all of “Romeo & Juliet” ‘s key plot points. Instead of star-crossed
lovers this time around, “HSM4” will deal with a love triangle.
Now where this gets interesting is – rather than make use
Matt Prokop, Justin Martin and Jemma McKenzie-Brown (whose Jimmie Zara, Donny Dion
and Tiara Gold characters were deliberately introduced in “High School Musical
3: Senior Year” so that this Disney franchise would then have some recognizable-but-still-affordable
performers to built future “HSM” installments around) – is that “High School
Musical: East Meets West” is reportedly going to feature an all-new cast.
Mind you, that’s most likely because Ortega is no
longer directing the “High School Musical” movies. Kenny’s moved on (Most
recently, Ortega was the director / choreographer for the now-canceled Michael
Jackson “This is It!” concert that was planned for London’s O2 Arena). In his
place, Disney has hired Jeffrey Hornaday. Who is probably best known for the choreographer of “Flashdance” and “Captain EO.”
Okay, I know. I’ve kind of been beating up on the scriptwriters
for “Camp Rock 2: Final Jam” and “High School Musical: East Meets West” in today’s
article. Accusing them of “borrowing” most of their ideas for these two
projects from Shakespeare.
But the upside is … Rich Ross, head of Disney Channel
Worldwide, doesn’t much care who first came up with that star-crossed-lovers
idea and/or that Montague-Capulet-rivalry thing. In the end, what really matters
to Rich is “Is the script solid?” And in the case of “Camp Rock 2: Final Jam,”
the advance word is that this soon-to-begin-production Disney Channel Original has a surprisingly
entertaining teleplay. And provided that helmer Paul Hoen (who previously
directed “Jump In!” for the Disney Channel) can pull all of the pieces
together, “Camp Rock 2” should actually be a better TV movie than the first “Camp
As for “High School Musical: East Meets West” … From what I
hear, “HSM4” has a good-but-not-great script. And when it comes right down to it,
the ultimate success of this Disney Channel Original – as well as the entire “High
School Musical” franchise -- depends on who Hornaday casts. Whether Jeff is
able to find the next Zack Efron & Vanessa Hudgens.
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved
And speaking of maintaining Mouse House franchises … Back in
April, the Disney Channel made a very big deal about how it had renewed “Hannah
Montana” for a fourth and final season. With the plan being to shoot 11 regular
episodes of this hit sitcom as well as an hour-long finale for the series next
Now many folks in Hollywood seemed surprised that Miley
Cyrus (who had been previously been quite vocal about her desire to ditch “Hannah
Montana” so that Cyrus could then concentrate on her film career)
would reverse herself like that and then opt to re-up with the Disney Channel.
Well, truth be told, it wasn’t the Mouse that persuaded
Miley to continue on with her sitcom. But – rather – WalMart.
(L to R) Miley Cyrus and Max Azria
To explain: Ms. Cyrus
and that big box retailer are now in business in a big way. That – in addition
to sponsoring Miley’s next concert tour (which will kick-off in Portland, OR this
September and then play 44 other dates before finally ending in Miami) – WalMart is also about to launch a Miley Cyrus clothing line.
And since it will be a lot easier for tween girls to really get behind Miley’s new clothing line (which
– FYI – is being designed by Max Azria) if “Hannah Montana” is still on the air in 2010 …
Well, that’s why Ms. Cyrus ultimately agreed to do that fourth & final season.
Not because there are so many loose story threads that need to be tied up on
this hit Disney Channel series. But – rather – because there are threads that
now need to be sold at WalMart.
“Hannah Montana” fans needn’t worry, though. In spite of the
fact that Miley’s really only doing Season 4 for the money, Rick Ross (who
thinks of this sitcom as a key turning point in the Disney Channel’s history)
is going to insist that “Hannah Montana” comes to a satisfying conclusion.
My understanding is that – for several years now – Ross has
had a definitive idea about how he wants to bring “Hannah” to a close. Which may
factor into the Disney Channel’s recent decision to shift this show’s setting from down on the
beach to up into the hills of Malibu for Season 4.
Hmmn … I wonder which of those seven basic plots Rich will want to use for the "Hannah Montana" finale?Your thoughts?
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The shift in Hannah Montana probably has to do with a spin-off. The show is so popular that there has to be a spin-off. Maybe with Jackson and Rico.
Those three from High School Musical 3 were horrible, thank God they're not returning.
high school musical is rock but boring
you want wacht astro