Disney spree for Jonas sibs
EmptyAfter making stars of singer-actors like "Hannah Montana's" Miley Cyrus, Disney Channel has set its sights on a trio of young hyphenates, greenlighting a series, movie and concert special starring recording act the Jonas Brothers.
The teenage siblings -- Kevin, Joe and Nick -- are set to star in a live-action spy comedy titled "J.O.N.A.S." that has just been given a series pickup, targeted to go into production early next year for a 2008 premiere.
The single-camera comedy, from Turtle Rock Prods. and executive producers Michael Curtis and Roger Schulman, stars the brothers as young operatives for the government -- aka Junior Operatives Networking as Spies (J.O.N.A.S.) -- who thwart evil while working undercover as a superstar teen rock band. The number of episodes has yet to be determined for the series, the pilot of which was ordered in May (HR 5/9).
Meanwhile, Disney Channel also has officially greenlighted "Camp Rock" after having been in the works for a few months. The music-filled original movie, which is in production in Toronto, stars the Jonases as members of a leading musical group, Connect 3, who are celebrity guest counselors at a prestigious summer camp for aspiring musicians. "Camp Rock" is directed by Matthew Diamond from a script by Julie Brown, Paul Brown, Regina Hicks and Karen Gist. It premieres in summer 2008.
In addition, the network is set to air a concert special, "Jonas Brothers in Concert," originating from New York's Gramercy Park, at 8 p.m. Oct. 6. The special will feature songs from the group's self-titled sophomore album, released by Walt Disney Co.-owned Hollywood Records, which recently reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200.
All three projects also will air on Disney Channel around the world.
Gary Marsh, Disney Channel Worldwide president of entertainment, said the network is very high on the Jonas Brothers.
"We have become extraordinarily skillful at finding talent and creating stars," he said. "This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to take the talent of the Jonas Brothers that has been proven over the past six months and launch them into the stratosphere across multiple platforms."
Disney Channel does seem to have a magic touch when it comes to making stars. Along with Cyrus, it also has boosted the careers of such young actors as Shia LaBeouf, Hilary Duff, Zac Efron and Raven-Symone.
And the Jonas Brothers already have a following among the tween set. The trio -- who were raised in Wyckoff, N.J., and now live in Los Angeles -- came to the attention of Radio Disney in early 2005 and were added to its playlist in October of that year. Since then, they recorded the theme song to Disney Channel's animated series "American Dragon: Jake Long," and that music video and others have been regularly featured on the network.
The brothers also were showcased in summer 2006 in a concert special from the "Disney Channel Games" at Walt Disney World in Orlando and guest-starred in the record-setting episode of "Hannah Montana" that aired after the premiere of "High School Musical 2" last month.
As for "Camp Rock," Marsh pointed out that music has become a big part of Disney Channel's programming, citing other original movies such as the "High School Musical" and "Cheetah Girls" franchises.
"Music really has become a fundamental building block of the Disney Channel -- it's part of our DNA," he said. " 'Camp Rock' and the Jonas Brothers are a great next step in building that profile."
Next up for the Jonas Brothers is a 54-date arena tour as part of the Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds jaunt that kicks off in October.
The brothers are repped by CAA; managers Philip McIntyre, Kevin Jonas and Johnny Wright; and attorneys Rob Cohen and James Adams. Curtis also is repped by CAA; Schulman is repped by Paradigm; both are managed by Jonathan Baruch at Rain Management Group.