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October 4, 2015

What's the Next Big Hit for the Disney Channel?

by Rich Keller, posted Sep 10th 2010 3:20PM
'Pair of Kings,' which premieres this Friday on Disney Channel, will spend most of its time on male-oriented DisneyXD.Every few years Disney Channel encounters a conundrum with their original, scripted series that puts its executives in a tizzy. It doesn't involve ratings or writing nor the overall quality of the programs. Rather, cast members reach adulthood and leave their series, which throws the executives for a loop.

This year the network higher-ups are being hit with a double-punch. The first swing was from 'Hannah Montana Forever' star Miley Cyrus. Despite being one of the top 2 shows amongst kids and tweens, Cyrus decided to end her run on the program this season and move as far away as possible from the hand that fed her over the last few years.

The follow-up hook came from Selena Gomez, who told folks earlier this summer the next season of 'Wizards of Waverly Place' would be her last.

Those are just the known commodities! With Demi Lovato of 'Sonny With a Chance' and the Jonas Brothers of the aptly titled 'Jonas' hitting their strides as actors and performers, their futures as Disney Channel mainstays could be shorter than network executives think. Throw in the fact that Cole and Dylan Sprouse of 'The Suite Life on Deck' may eventually tire of their own show and the network is going to be left with several large holes to fill.

The big question is: Does Disney Channel have anything waiting in the wings that will be the next 'Hannah Montana' or 'Wizards of Waverly Place?' Well, there are two possible replacements in the bullpen as well as some potential actors from It's A Laugh Productions, which produces all of Disney Channel's current live-action comedies, that may be ripe for their own series.

One of the shows is 'Pair of Kings,' which premieres tonight. It stars former 'Hannah Montana' star Mitchell Musso and Doc Shaw from 'The Suite Life on Deck' as fraternal twin brothers who discover they're kings of a tropical island nation. Unfortunately, the male-oriented DisneyXD will be home to the show. While it will cross over to the Disney Channel and draw some fans who enjoyed both actors on their previous offerings, 'Pair of Kings' may not be the breakout hit the network needs.

But the channel's other new offering, 'Shake It Up!,' just might be their salvation. Starring Bella Thorne from 'Big Love,' the show is a comedy-dance hybrid that focuses on two teens who become backup dancers on Chicago's hottest dance program. While a specific fall premiere date has not been set, 'Shake It Up!' seems a good fit on Sunday nights as a companion to freshman comedy 'Good Luck Charlie,' which, along with 'Hannah Montana,' is the other most popular show among kids and teens.

Only two shows to fill four or five potential slots and one of those slated for full-time status on DisneyXD? Not promising news for a network that has been No. 1 in all dayparts for the last few years. So, who could the production company pull from their talent pool to keep the momentum going?

Two female actors immediately come to mind: Emily Osment of 'Hannah Montana' and Jennifer Stone of 'Wizards of Waverly Place.' Both talented comedians, the two actresses have already headlined made-for-TV Disney movies -- Osment in 'Dadnapped' and Stone in 'Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars.' Separately, they could carry their own series, with Osment having an advantage thanks for her burgeoning singing career. If paired up, the two could do some good things for the network.

For the opposite sex, nominations for new shows would go out to David Henrie of 'Wizard' and Moises Aries of 'Hannah Montana.' Both have the charm and that innocent sweetness about them to draw in the female audience members from their current shows into new ventures. Another 'Hannah Montana' veteran, Jason Earles, would have been considered, but he's already destined for a new DisneyXD series, 'Kickin It,' scheduled to premiere in 2011.

Really, it's going to come down to which direction Disney Channel wants to go. Do they want to stay the course and choose programs that feature stars who do more than just act? Or do they want to go the route of 'Good Luck Charlie' and return to standard family sitcom fare? Their decision will determine what and who becomes the next big thing.

Who do you think will be the next big Disney Channel star? How about the next big series?

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Caitlan Ede' Holmes

Take Notes And Listen Up! I think it is time for something new and totally different for Disney Channel. It is time to introduce the world to the phenomenonal little girl, Katie Knocka, The Princess of the South. She is a ten year old Hip Hop Artist with a heart of gold. She has been performing since the age of five, sharing her talents with the world. She is a humanitarian with her own holiday in her hometown. She is by far the hottest thing out there today. She has been called by many names, but we call her Katie Bear because she visit the elderly and take them Teddy Bears. She has the looks of Queen Sheba...She is the Princess of the South, a beautiful humanitarian.

November 12 2010 at 7:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about God Luck Charlie? That's a good show. And it has Bridgit Mendler in it.

September 17 2010 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The sprouse twins are heading off to NYU in the fall. Check out the article on it here: http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2010/06/07/theres-a-new-set-of-twins-on-campus/

So, that settles that, they are off on their own college adventure. Good for them.

September 11 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich Keller

Christina, I agree that 'Pair of Kings' isn't up to the normal standard of It's a Laugh Productions. Then again, it is tailored for the DisneyXD audience. So, perhaps it'll do better there.0

'Suite Life' is not ending right now. However, with the twins nearing 18 I can't see it going on for much longer.

September 11 2010 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the concept for the Doc Shaw Mitchel Musso show is ridiculous. Maybe kids will like it, but my guess it that it will flop. I wasn't aware that The Suite Life on Deck was ending?? I will be disappointed when Wizards leaves the network, but it had a good run. I think Jake T Austin, from that show could pull off a show of his own. I like to see him with a more developed character to work with. Though I wouldn't mind seeing more David Henrie (he's a hottie).

September 11 2010 at 4:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm actually surprised they didn't try and give Debby Ryan the girl who plays Bailey on The Suite Life on Deck a show. Especially after the success of her TV movie "16 Wishes". She would have been perfect. At 17 she might be too old to helm a tween show.

September 10 2010 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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