Disney's 'Princess' takes throne

Original movie pulls huge numbers for the network

Disney Channel on Friday night delivered the year's most-watched scripted program on cable, drawing 8.5 million viewers with the premiere of its original movie "Princess Protection Program."

Starring Mouse contract players and real-life BFFs Selena Gomez ("Wizards of Waverly Place") and Demi Lovato ("Sonny With A Chance"), "Princess" put up huge demo numbers, averaging 3.1 million kids 6-11 and 3.2 million tweens 9-14.

"Princess" now stands as the third-most-watched original movie in the Disney franchise, trailing only the June 22, 2008, premiere of "Camp Rock" (8.86 million viewers) and the August 2007 debut of "High School Musical 2" (17.2 million viewers).

If history is any guide, deliveries for the Gomez-Lovato effort will increase significantly upon application of live-plus-seven-day data. With time-shifted viewing factored in, "Camp Rock" served up some 10.1 million viewers, per Nielsen, while "HSM2" was seen by 18.6 million viewers.

"Princess" is Disney Channel's 76th original movie. The film stars Lovato as a princess who is dethroned when a dictator seizes control of her country. She is subsequently taken in by the family of Gomez, who plays a tomboy.
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