High School Musical Redux for Disney

Pasadena, Calif. -- Warning to parents with tween-aged Disney Channel zombies at home: The sequel to the network’s immensely popular original movie, High School Musical 2, is scheduled to debut in August, Disney Channel Worldwide president of entertainment Gary Marsh said here Wednesday during the network's Television Critics Association Tour presentation.

The original movie, which premiered in January 2005, has reached more than 100 million television viewers worldwide and has sold upward of 6 million CDs on route to becoming the best-selling record on the Billboard charts in 2006, according to Disney.

To drum up interest in the sequel -- not that it has to do much, given the overwhelming success of the original -- Disney will give its audience an opportunity to influence via the Web some of what will be seen in the movie.

The online poll, dubbed High School Musical 2: Play Your Part, goes live Jan. 12 and allows kids to influence such things as some of the dialog in the movie, as well as which star from Disney hit series Hanna Montana they’d most like to see have a walk-on role in HSM2, Marsh said.

Marsh also announced that the network will debut the fourth season of animated series Kim Possible Feb. 10. The new season of the show will feature guest appearances from such celebrities as Debbie Reynolds, Elliot Gould, George Takei and Fred Savage, according to Marsh.

As for the network’s preschool block, Playhouse Disney, Marsh said it renewed animated series Hanny Manny for a second sesaon.

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.