'High School Musical 2' Makes Cable History

Disney Channel’s Friday night premiere of its original movie High School Musical 2 sang and danced its way to the most viewed basic cable show in history.

An ABC Cable analysis of Nielsen Media Research data reports that Disney’s Aug. 17 debut of the much-hyped original movie drew 17.2 million viewers, tackling the previous high of 16.0 million viewers garnered for ESPN’s Oct. 23, 2006 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys Monday Night Football game.

The two-hour movie easily topped Turner Network Television’s Crossfire Trail (15.5 million viewers) as the most watched basic cable movie of all time.

As for its target tween audience, the movie drew 5.9 million 9-14 year olds, ranking it as the second most watched entertainment telecast ever, behind the 6.75 million drawn for the 2004 Super Bowl.

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.