TCA: Disney Goes All Out for High School Musical 2

Disney is blowing out ancillary programming around its upcoming sequel to the blockbusterHigh School Musical movie, planning online games and streaming music, a documusical, a public affairs program, mobile messages and a televised backyard barbeque hosted by the show’s stars.

High School Musical 2 premieres Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. preceded by a televised barbeque hosted by those stars, including Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashely Tisdale and Corbin Bleu. The next night at 8 p.m., Disney will run the movie with “Wildcat Chat,” an interactive element where viewers can ask questions of the teen actors. Then, on Sunday at 8 p.m., the channel will run a sing-along telecast with the movie’s song lyrics displayed on screen.

Separately, this fall, Disney has slated a documentary about the production of HSM’s stage production. High School Musical: The Music in You will be produced by documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple, who tracked the month-long process of Texas students from rival high schools who produced a stage show based on the movie. Disney will also run interstitials about the process online, on the radio and on TV.

The original High School Musical became not just a ratings powerhouse, but an international superstar for Disney after it premiered to a huge 7.73 million total viewers in January, spawning a soundtrack that topped both the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and iTunes for weeks. The movie also became the first full-length feature to be offered on iTunes and the stage adaptation was developed by Disney Theatrical Procutions.

Disney is now also planning a public affairs initiative in partnership with the NAMM Foundation to help provide theater grants to middle and high school students. The NAMM Foundation and Disney’s High School Musical Grant will cover licensing costs involved in putting on school stage shows and cash grants for arts teaching.

The sequel’s post-premiere timeslot will go to a preview of Disney’s new animated comedy Phineas and Ferb at 9:45 p.m.. The show follows step-brothers who go on crazy summer escapades, including building a huge roller coaster in their backyard. Following that at 10:15 p.m. will be a new episode of Disney’s hit tween series Hannah Montata, guest starring recording artists the Jonas Brothers.