Disney, CMT Set Ratings Records

The Disney Channel earned its highest household ratings ever for an original movie with the premiere of High School Musical last week. The movie, which debuted Jan. 20 at 8 p.m., earned a 5.7 household rating, enough to surpass the 5.6 rating Disney notched with its original movie Cadet Kelly in March 2002. It drew 7.73 million total viewers.

High School Musical, a comedy about a jock and a bookworm who both love to sing, helped make Disney the most-viewed network in prime for the week ending Jan. 22, with an average 3.19 million viewers. Among ad-supported networks, USA delivered the largest prime time audience with 2.59 million total viewers, followed by TNT with 2.0 million and TBS with 1.77 million.

In other ratings news, the broadcast of the Miss America Pageant was CMT’s most-viewed program ever, with an average 3.07 million total viewers from 8 to 10 p.m. Jan. 21.

The program surpassed the country-music cable network’s last record of 2.9 million viewers for the 2005 CMT Music Awards, but still drew a far smaller audience than the pageant’s last airing on broadcast.

ABC, which most recently broadcast the competition, decided not to renew its contract with Miss America after the 2004 show pulled in a record low 9.8 million viewers. Viacom-owned CMT picked up the rights to run the pageant in 2006 and 2007, with an option through 2011.