Written by Charlie Mihelich
You’ve probably heard by now, or perhaps you haven’t, that “High School Musical 2” shattered previously held basic cable viewership records, with 17.2 million viewers, when it aired Friday night. The musical is the much anticipated follow-up to the hugely popular “High School Musical”, which had a comparatively modest showing when it aired in January of 2006 (7 million viewers), but sold like crazy in CD and DVD format.
Disney is also proud to announce that “Phinneas & Ferb”, a 15 minute preview for an upcoming series, generated the second highest viewing audience in Disney Channel history behind, you guessed it, “High School Musical 2”. The episode of “Hannah Montana”, which aired after the “Phinneas & Ferb” preview, became the No. 1 series telecast of all time in total viewers, and Disney Channel’s third highest rated telecast of all time.
I don’t like this because I know exactly what happened. I was home for the weekend, and Sunday night my sisters were watching one of the many re-airings of “High School Musical 2”. When it was over, they left the TV on and walked away. Disney Channel probably played for two hours after they walked away from the TV before someone shut it off, scoring Disney some free tally-marks for their ratings statistics.
I mean, kudos to Disney for the whole “High School Musical” sensation. I haven’t seen either of them, but everyone I know of that has seen it says they are very enjoyable. Therefore, I can’t fault Disney for having an immensely popular program. What I don’t like is them touting in press releases that the “special preview” that aired in the 15 minutes immediately following the “High School Musical 2” telecast broke records based on its own merits. I know a lot of kids who passively watch television because having the TV on is better than nothing at all, and watching TV is a good way to kill precious minutes before being forced into bed.
For the record, I do know that “Hannah Montana” is a big deal among the youngins, but it’s not a big enough deal to be the No. 1 cable television series telecast of all time on its own. I mean, it’s just like Superbowl Sunday guaranteeing No. 1 ratings to every FOX show that airs in the several hours afterward.