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Disney Channel's `Princess' Movie Draws 8.5 Million Viewers

Disney Channel's June 26 premiere of its new original movie Princess Protection Program drew 8.5 million viewers, the highest performance for a network original movie in more than a year.

The movie, starring Selena Gomez (Wizards Of Waverly Place) and Demi Lovato (Sonny With A Chance), is the third best performing movie in Disney history, behind June 2008's Camp Rock (8.9 million viewers) and August 2007's High School Musical 2 (18 million viewers).

The telefilm, about a foreign princess in peril who hides out in a small U.S. town, also finished as the No. 1 entertainment telecast of 2009 among kids 6 to 11 (3.1 million) and tweens 9-14 (3.2 million).

Princess Protection Program towered over all time period competition on both broadcast and cable, virtually doubling second place finisher CBS in total viewers (8.5 million vs. 4.4 million), and also scoring the No. 1 rank among kids 6 to 11 and tweens 9 to 14, said Disney.

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.