Disney Scares Up Viewers

Disney Channel and Lifetime Television’s Oct. 12 lineup of magic-themed and psychic-based content crafted a spell on viewers.

Disney’s premiere of the witch movie Twitches Too drew 6.9 million viewers in its premiere and served as a strong lead out to Disney’s newest sorcerer-themed series, Wizards of Waverly Place, which scared up 5.9 million viewers to finish as basic cable’s top series telecast for the night.

Lifetime’s resident psychic series Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead and the network’s psychic-competition series, America’s Psychic Challenge, drew more than 1 million viewers on Oct. 12 as well, according to network executives.

Twitches Too, which stars Tia and Tamera Mowry as young witches tapped to protect their home kingdom from evil forces, fell just short of the 7.0 million viewers drawn by its October 2005 predecessor. The movie also ranked as the night’s most-watched basic cable program in total viewers, while attracting more than one-third of all available kids aged 6 to 11 (2.1 million/8.6 rating) and tweens 9-14 (2.6 million/10.5 rating). The movie — the 70th original film for Disney — also garnered an even-more-impressive 54 national share with girls 6 to 11 and 56 national share in tween girls.

Twitches Too’s performance continues an incredible run of successful original movies for Disney Channel. The movie becomes the 10th out of the last 11 Disney Channel releases to draw more than 5 million viewers in its premiere run, dating back to the first Twitches movie in 2005. This past August, the network’s High School Musical 2 movie drew a cable television audience record of 17.2 million viewers

Wizards of Waverly Place, about an urban family of sorcerers, drew 32 national share with kids 6 to 11 and 33 national share in tweens 9 to 14. More impressively, at least half of all girls 6 to 14 tuned in to the series launch.

The show also garnered significant double-digit percent increases over year-ago time period averages in total viewers (57%; 5.9 million vs. 3.8 million) and kids 6 to 11 (88%; 2.4 million vs. 1.3 million), and triple-digit growth in tweens 9 to 14 (100%; 2.4 million vs. 1.2 million).

But Disney wasn’t the only network to draw strong Friday ratings for entertainment programming. Lifetime’s second season premiere of psychic series Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead averaged a 1.0 household rating and 1.3 million viewers, up from last year’s premiere numbers of a 0.9 rating and 1.1 million viewers, according to the network. The show also delivered an increase of 69% in women 18 to 34 and a 36% increase in women 18-49, versus its first season premiere.

At 10 p.m., Lifetime’s new reality/competition show America’s Psychic Challenge delivered 1.1 million viewers and a 0.9 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research.

R. Thomas Umstead

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.