Cablevision, Verizon Get First Airing of Disney Sequel

Disney Channel will give Cablevision Systems and Verizon Communications FiOS TV subscribers a week-long sneak preview of the network’s highly anticipated High School Musical 2 movie beginning Aug. 10.

The film -- a sequel to the 2006 Disney movie, which has been viewed by more than 160 million viewers worldwide -- will be available on the Cablevision- and Verizon-distributed Disney On Demand service prior to the movie’s premiere on Disney Channel Aug. 17.

The early preview is one of several stunts Disney is planning for the debut of HSM2.

Immediately after the movie’s Disney Channel premiere, the network will debut a new animated series, Phineas and Ferb, in which two kid stepbrothers plan a summer of exciting stunts in their backyard. Following Phineas and Ferb, the network will air a new episode of Hannah Montana featuring recording artist the Jonas Brothers.

In addition, Disney will offer additional exposure to HSM2 online. next week will premiere a music video from the movie, while Disney XD will stream the entire HSM2 soundtrack Aug. 11. The site will also feature an HSM2 channel offering fans the chance to participate in a movie-related contest to earn digital prizes for their personal DXD channel.

On the mobile side, Disney will offer a new interactive mobile WAP (wireless-access point) that will provide fans with video, SMS (short-messaging system) alerts, polls, trivia, a mobile game and other features.

Also, Sprint Nextel mobile-video customers will have exclusive access to a selection of short-form video programming prior to the movie’s premiere. Disney will also make available exclusively to Sprint mobile-video customers both High School Musical and HSM2 in their entirety.

Meanwhile, the network will extend the successful movie franchise by airing this fall a docu-musical that follows a month-long effort by Fort Worth, Texas, students from two rival high schools to produce a stage adaptation of the movie. Produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple (Harland County, USA, American Dream), the telecast will coincide with the launch of Disney Channel’s public-affairs initiative in association wit the NAMM Foundation to crate a theater-grant program designed to strengthen and provide access to music- and arts-education programs in schools.

Along with the documentary, the network -- as well as and Radio Disney -- will offer a series of interstitials that will illustrate student involvement in the arts as part of their school curriculum.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.