Pasadena, Calif. -- Although High School Musical has gotten mountains of publicity for its success both as a TV movie and a CD of original music, the first Disney Channel movie to spin off a successful album was The Cheetah Girls, starring Raven-Symone.
To build on that success, the channel filmed The Cheetah Girls 2, setting the tweener girl's film in Barcelona.
Although network executives used words like "franchise" when talking about the films at the summer Television Critics Association meeting here, they noted that there is no "part three" currently in development. The Cheetah Girls focuses on the lives of the members of an aspiring girl group.
In other news from Disney channels:
• Disney Channel ordered a second season of its preschooler series, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
• A computer-generated animation series for preschoolers, Handpy Manny, will debut Sept. 16. Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show) will voice the title character in the multicultural series.
• Short-form series Johnny and the Sprites, featuring Tony Award-winning puppeteer John Tartaglia (Avenue Q), will be expanded to a half-hour series, debuting in the “Playhouse Disney” block early next year.
• A new action/adventure/comedy series, Yin Yang Yo!, will take over Toon Disney all through Labor Day before settling into its weeknight slot during the “Jetix” block on the channel. The stars are two "hyperkinetic tween rabbits" who battle evil. The series is available for preview now on the Jetix Web site (tv.disney.go.com/jetix/index.html).
• Production has begun on a new animated comedy series, Phineas and Ferb. The title characters are stepbrothers who entertain themselves by building things like a backyard roller coaster.
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