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ABC Gets On Stage With 'High School Musical' Series

High School Musical 2 is the biggest show in cable history. Now broadcast brethren ABC wants to get in on the act.

ABC, as part of an extensive summer lineup of reality shows, will debut a competition audition show for those interested in becoming High School Musical performers.

The Alphabet network,which like Disney Channel is owned by The Walt Disney Co., will bow High School Musical: Summer Session July 20 at 9 p.m. It will air Sunday and Monday nights for three weeks, and then continue Mondays at 8 p.m. through summer’s end.

The reality series, according to ABC executives, will hold nationwide casting sessions that will appear in the show, along with plenty of surprises from High School Musical franchise. Anyone aged 16-22 who has dreamed of being center stage  -- the high school quarterback who has a song in his heart, or someone looking to trade pawns for a chance to dance – are invited to “Get’cha head in the game” like the hit song says.

The finalists will participate in a summer musical program to hone their stage skills. After eliminations, the winner will be given a chance of a lifetime -- details of which are still under wraps.

Plans call for the third iteration of High School Musical to be a theatrical.

As for High School Musical 2, its Aug. 17, 2007 premiere garnered 18.6 million viewers on a live, plus-7-day basis, the most ever for a cable program. Worldwide, HSM2 has been seen by 195 million viewers in 24 languages around the world, while its predecessor counts 250 million watchers globally, according to Disney officials.

In addition, the telefilms spawned stage productions at schools and in professional theatres around the world, multi-platinum CDs, DVDs and books, a successful consumer products franchise at mass retailers, a themed show at Disneyland Parks in Anaheim, Orlando and Paris. There was also a sold-out 42 date arena concert tour in North America and Latin America, plus a popular touring ice show around the world.

ABC’s summer reality lineup also features new seasons of The Bachelorette (debuting May 19) and The Mole (May 26) and), plus newcomers Wanna Bet (July 21) Wipeout (June 24), Dance Machine (June 27) and I Survived a Japanese Game Show (June 24).

ABC News’s six-part documentary series Hopkins, examining Baltimore’s John Hopkins Hospital, is slated to bow June 26.