Humongous. Gi-normous. Cable record-setting. The Friday preem of Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2" brought in an astounding 17.24 million viewers (17,240,884 to be exact) in its Friday 8-10:05 p.m. ET/PT preem. Take a bow, Disney Channel entertainment prexy Gary Marsh (pictured below), Rich Ross and the rest of the exec team that backed the notion of a kid-friendly tuner last year when most of us were going, huh?For the kids of today -- singing and dancing, Mickey and Judy style? Just goes to prove the industry cliche about zigging when others are zagging....and finding talent, good-looking comers a la Zac Efron to showcase.
"HSM2" tuner now ranks as the most-watched TV movie ever with kids 6-11, drawing 6.1 million viewers in that demo, and the most-watched ever with tweeners 9-14, drawing 5.9 million viewers in that demo, according to Disney Channel. In total households, pic drew a massive 9.4 million cable homes, putting the telecast behind only a handful of sports and news telecasts in cable history in total households deliver. The high total viewer tally also indicates that pic was a family viewing event in most of those 9.4 million households. And as Disney Channel's hard-working PR maven Patti McTeague observed this a.m., who knows how many were really watching given all the viewing parties set around "HSM2" last night.
Disney Channel followed "HSM2" with a sneak peek of the upcoming animated series "Phineas and Ferb," which held onto a healthy 10.8 million viewers from its windfall lead-in. And at 10:20 p.m., a fresh seg of Disney Channel hit "Hannah Montana" was socko enough to rank as Disney Channel's second most-watched telecast ever, with an average of 10.7 million viewers. "Hannah" also set all kinds of series records for Disney Channel and the basic cable biz in general, including most-watched seg with kids 6-11 (4.1 million), and most-watched seg with the 9-14 crowd (4.2 million).