'Halloweentown' draws big audience


Disney Channel scared up a big audience for the premiere of its original movie "Return to Halloweentown."

The movie, the fourth in a franchise that started in 1998, drew 7.5 million total viewers in its debut from 8-9:50 p.m. Friday, making it the most-watched basic cable program of the day.

Among the kid demos, "Halloweentown" drew 3.2 million kids 6-11 and 2.9 million tweens 9-14, making it TV's most-watched program among all broadcast and cable networks for the entire day in those demos.

Overall, the performance of the movie was the franchise's best on record in terms of total viewers and the two kid demos. It also helped Disney Channel become Friday's most-watched TV network for the entire day in kids 6-11 (817,000) and tweens 9-14 (753,000) as well as basic cable's most-watched network in total viewers (2.1 million).

Disney Channel also boasted Friday's top five most-watched basic cable programs in total viewers, which in addition to "Halloweentown" included two episodes of "Hannah Montana" (4.28 million, 7:30-8 p.m.; 3.66 million, 9:55-10:25 p.m.), "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" (3.24 million, 10:25-10:55 p.m.) and "That's So Raven" (3.22 million, 7-7:30 p.m.).

Of the 66 Disney Channel original movies ever made, "Return to Halloweentown" stands as the fourth most-watched in total viewers, behind this year's "The Cheetah Girls 2" (7.82 million) and "High School Musical" (7.76 million) and 2002's "Cadet Kelly" (7.75 million).

The movie also stands as Disney Channel's most-watched original movie on record in adults 18-34 (1 million) and adults 18-49 (1.9 million).

In addition, it earned a 52 national share among girls 6-11 and a 50 national share among girls 9-14.