'High School' graduation

'Witch' redo, pair of TV deals in Tisdale's future

Ashley Tisdale is taking strides to capitalize on the heat generated by her "High School Musical" career.

Tisdale, known for playing rich-girl Sharpay Evans in Disney Channel's "HSM" franchise, is in negotiations to star in a remake of "Teen Witch" for United Artists. She also is making inroads into producing by entering negotiations for a one-year first-look producing deal with FremantleMedia North America, the company behind "American Idol," and by executive producing an untitled mall-set show based on her life for Disney Channel.

"Witch," an MGM library title, originally was released in 1989 and starred Robyn Lively as an unpopular high school teen who learns she's a descendant from the witches of Salem and has inherited their powers. The movie was a fantasy musical.

A writer will be sought to pen the update.

The Fremantle deal is seen as capitalizing on Tisdale — who has numerous endorsement deals — as a global brand and will see her help to develop nonscripted shows for the reality juggernaut. The shows would be aimed toward the younger demographic and Tisdale would stay behind the cameras.

The Disney Channel show, known as the untitled mall project, is based on the 23-year-old Tisdale's earlier life working in a mall. Disney declined comment on the project, but it is understood that the channel approached Tisdale after executives read a newspaper article in which the actress talked of her misadventures before finding a career with "HSM." As with the Fremantle projects, she has no plans to star.

Tisdale seems to be taking a multipronged approach to her career while many of her "HSM" co-stars concentrate on acting in their efforts to break out of the Disney confines. Zac Efron, for example, is starring in the New Line comedy "17" and working with Richard Linklater on the book adaptation "Me and Orson Welles," and Vanessa Anne Hudgens is starring in Summit's musical teen drama "Will."

Tisdale recently wrapped production on her theatrical film debut, Fox's adventure comedy "They Came From Upstairs." She is in preproduction on the third installment of Disney's moneymaking "HSM" phenomenon, which is being prepped for the first time as a theatrical feature, and is working on her second album.

Tisdale is repped by Gersh, New Talent Management and Stone Meyer Genow.
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