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WGN Adds Disney Pair

In a first for original Disney Channel series, Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens will take the syndicated plunge on Superstation WGN, which has secured exclusive rights to the tween-targeted shows.

Beginning this fall, WGN will begin airing Lizzie, starring actress and singer Hillary Duff; and Stevens, starring Shia LaBeouf and Christy Carlson Romano, weekdays during the early-fringe daypart, as well as on weekends.

Under the deal negotiated by distributor Buena Vista Television, WGN acquired all three seasons of both shows, 65 installments of each. Deal-term specifics were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the negotiations said The Walt Disney Co. properties didn’t retain any barter inventory.

However, Disney does retain the shows’ rights on other platforms, including the rights to continue repeats on the linear Disney Channel, as well as distribution via video-on-demand, subscription VOD and mobile video players.

Officials at WGN, now available in some 68 million cable and satellite homes, said the superstation will run the shows back to back, along with Moesha, Home Improvement and America’s Funniest Home Videos as part of a family entertainment block.

WGN declined an interview request, seeking information, among other things, about the inventory split for local cable operators. Sources familiar deal, though, indicate WGN controls seven minutes of commercials in each of the half-hour shows.

A Disney Channel spokesman replied “that’s it for now” when asked about the syndicated future of That’s So Raven. That show, now in its fourth season, will be the network’s first to reach 100 installments.

The fifth season is slated to premiere this fall. Series star Raven-Symone is shooting Cheetah Girls 2, an original movie sequel to the network’s popular predecessor, in Barcelona, Spain. The musically themed telefilm is slated to bow this summer.