We knew going in that Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2" was going to be the Super Bowl for kids this year. And in landing as the most-watched single telecast in the history of the medium among kids 6-11, it's fair to say that Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay and the rest of the East High gang didn't disappoint.
This time around, there were were nearly 10% more boys and a whole lot more adults tuning in to the tuner. Among the 6.1 million kids in the 6-11 age range, the gender breakdown for the Friday premiere airing was 62% girls, 38% boys, compared to a 70-30 split for "High School Musical," which became a not-so-sleeper hit early last year. This past Friday night, two out of three kids who were watching TV were tuned to "HSM2." In the girls 6-11, the audience share was an astounding 80, translating to four out of five girls in the vicinity of a TV set, as Variety's Rick Kissell reports in his detailed look at "HSM2's" perf. (And just wait until the Live-Plus-7 numbers accounting for a week's worth of DVR playback viewing roll in next week...)
But of all the impressive stats generated by the sequel, the sweetest number for Disney Channel stewards may be the fact that one-third of the telepic's aud was comprised of adults 18 and over. The number of young adults (18-34s) and older-younger adults (18-49s) who watched stand as empirical evidence for Disney Channel programming execs that their master plan is working. For a network oriented around grade-schoolers, engaging the attention of voting-age viewers is a coup. Getting kids and moms and dads to all sit still at the same time and gather round the electronic hearth as in the days of yesteryear and three networks (NBC, CBS and DuMont) is an absolute slam dunk in our frantically fragmented age, even even for a commercial-free cabler that isn't worried about selling soap.