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Disney Channel's Next Big Thing At Upfronts

Announcements for three Disney Channel original movies, a third season of HANNAH MONTANA and second seasons of WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE and PHINEAS AND FERB were among the highlights at Disney Channel's upfront presentation Wednesday.

Themed "The Next Big Thing," the advertiser meeting was held at New York's Legacy Recording Studios.

It was led by Tricia Wilber, exec. VP, Disney Media Advertising Sales and Marketing Group, Michelle Scarola, SVP, TV Sales, Disney Media Advertising Sales and Marketing Group, and Gary Marsh, president, Entertainment, Disney Channels Worldwide.

Disney's presentation was highlighted by a musical performance from 15-year-old singer/songwriter/actress Demi Lovato, star of the upcoming Disney Channel Original Movies CAMP ROCK (along with the platinum-selling rockers Jonas Brothers) and the newly-announced PRINCESS PROTECTION PROGRAM (with Selena Gomez of WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE).

Lovato is already known to Disney Channel viewers as the star of the hit sitcom shorts, AS THE BELL RINGS.

CAMP ROCK will premiere in an unprecedented roll-out on Disney Channel, the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, Radio Disney and in June. PRINCESS PROTECTION PROGRAM is scheduled to premiere during the 2008-09 season.

In 2007, Disney Channel delivered the highest ratings for any cable channel in history. It also continued its unparalleled record of delivering bright new talent and a deep connection with fans, whether they're watching television, listening to the radio or interacting online.

Among the Disney Channel stars who've become the most sought-after young talent in Hollywood are Shia LaBeouf, Hilary Duff, Raven-Symone, Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus.

Over the past decade, Disney Channel has also gained a reputation as an engine for The Walt Disney Company, with its hit series, movies and bright new stars delivering record-setting ratings on TV and brand extensions off TV that include music, books, consumer products, theme park attractions and motion pictures.

For the 2008-09 season, more than 445 hours of new programming will be presented across Playhouse Disney, Disney Channel, Toon Disney/Jetix.

Marsh announced three new titles for the popular Disney Channel original movie franchise: PRINCESS PROTECTION PROGRAM, DADNAPPED and HATCHING PETE, each starring Disney Channel series stars in new roles.

Also announced were the third season of the top-rated series for Kids age 6-14, HANNAH MONTANA, and second seasons for the hit series WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE and the animated comedy PHINEAS AND FERB, which posted cable's most watched animated series premiere ever among Tweens.

For first quarter 2008, PHINEAS AND FERB was TV's #1 animated series in Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14, and was #3 among all cable series in Kids 6-11. Among Tweens 9-14, WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE and HANNAH MONTANA were Top 5 players in the first quarter.

Starring Demi Lovato, Gomez and Tom Verica, PRINCESS PROTECTION PROGRAM centers on a teenage princess who must escape her country and be placed into a top-secret protection program.

Hidden in the home of its lead agent, she now must learn to fit in as an average teenager and, ultimately, show the agent's insecure daughter that she too has all the qualities of a true "princess."

Written by Annie DeYoung (Disney Channel's JOHNNY KAPAHALA: BACK ON BOARD) and David Morgasen (SON OF THE BEACH), the movie is directed by Allison Liddi-Brown (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), produced by Danielle Weinstock (WEEDS) and executive-produced by Doug Sloan (Disney Channel's MINUTEMEN).

Starring Emily Osment, Jason Earles and Moises Arias (all of HANNAH MONTANA), David Henrie (WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE) and Phill Lewis (THE SUITE LIFE OF ZACK & CODY), DADNAPPED is a story of Melissa, a girl who feels abandoned by her father.

He's a best-selling author, totally preoccupied with the hero of his spy novels, TRIPP ZOOME, and the fan activities surrounding the character. During a long overdue father-daughter vacation, her dad goes missing, and now it's up to Melissa to muster the courage and know-how to find him, which suddenly puts her in the midst of her own adventurous plot.

DADNAPPED was written by Alan Silberberg (DOUG), executive-produced by Doug Sloan (Disney Channel's MINUTEMEN) and directed by Paul Hoen (Disney Channel's JUMP IN and upcoming Disney Channel original movie, THE CHEETAH GIRLS ONE WORLD).

Jason Dolley (CORY IN THE HOUSE, MINUTEMEN) and Mitchel Musso (HANNAH MONTANA) star in HATCHING PETE, the story of shy high school student who's struggling to be noticed, especially by a special girl he's admired forever.

Then his best friend, Poole, must quietly take a break from performing as the school's chicken mascot, and unbeknownst to the fans, he convinces Pete to stand in for him. Once Pete dons the chicken suit, a completely new outgoing personality emerges, not only captivating the school but the whole town.

Meanwhile, Poole reaps the benefits of Pete's dynamic performances, including a new girlfriend. Unassuming Pete must decide if he wants everyone to know who the funny guy truly is.

A Salty Pictures production, HATCHING PETE was written by Paul W. Cooper (THE NOTE), Dan Fybel and Rich Rinaldi (Disney's EMPEROR'S NEW SCHOOL) and is directed by Stuart Gillard (Disney Channel's TWITCHES TOO). Sheri Singer (Disney Channel's RETURN TO HALLOWEENTOWN) is the executive producer and Randy Sutter (THE CIRCUIT) is the producer.

For 2007, Disney Channel U.S. was the #1 basic cable network in primetime among Total Viewers (2.69 million), the biggest total audience for any cable network on record. It was also #1 in primetime for the fifth year running among Kids 6-11 (1.13 million/4.6 rating), and for seven straight years among Tweens 9-14 (988,000/4.0 rating).

In total day Disney Channel was #1 among Tweens 9-14 (518,000/2.1 rating). Disney Channel has also delivered the #1 basic cable movie among Kids age 6-14 for the past six years.

For first quarter 2008, with its largest first quarter primetime and total day ratings ever, Disney Channel was #2 among Total Viewers, holding a solid 19% advantage over third-place TNT. In key kids demographics, Disney Channel extended its winning streak in primetime to 12 consecutive quarters among Kids 6-11, and to 35 straight quarters among Tweens 9-14.

In both primetime and total day, Disney Channel delivered its largest first quarter of all time in Total Viewers and Kids 6-11. Its Playhouse Disney block also posted its best-ever first quarter in Total Viewers and among its targeted Kids 2-5 demographic. MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE was among the first quarter's Top 10 TV series among Kids 2-5.

Over the past decade (1997-2007), Disney Channel narrowed the gap with Nickelodeon in total day ratings among Kids 6-11, posting the smallest margin yet, a mere 10% difference, for 2007. Disney Channel has delivered growth each year since 2004 in total day in both Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14, while Nickelodeon has declined in each of the past three years in both key kid demos.

As Disney Channel on-air ratings set all-time highs, is the #1 entertainment website for Kids age 6-14 year to date and for 2007. delivers 28 million unique monthly visitors with games and exclusive content. Its broadband player features Disney Channel's hit series for kids and tweens in six different languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Hindi and Mandarin).