The Wizards Of Waverly Place and star Selena Gomez couldn’t quite capture the magic of the hit franchise’s heyday. Last night’s Disney Channel original movie The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, delivered 5.9 million total viewers. That was less than half the audience of the 2009 TV movie Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie (13.5 million), which ranks as the #2 cable TV movie ever (behind High School Musical 2). Still, Alex vs. Alex did better than recent Disney Channel films like Girl Vs. Monster (4.9 million) and Let It Shine (5.7 million). It delivered 2.9 million Kids 2-11, 2.3 million Kids 6-11 and 2.2 million Tweens 9-14, ranking as the #1 cable TV telecast of 2013 to date in Tweens 9-14, the #2 cable TV telecast in Kids 2-11 and Kids 6-11, and the #1 kids’ cable TV telecast in Total Viewers. The hourlong special buoyed an all-new episode of Gravity Falls to a series high in Total Viewers (4.5 million). It posted its #2 telecast ever in Tweens 9-14 (1.7 million) and #3 telecast in Kids 2-11 (2.5 million).
Disney Channel Original Movie Girl Vs. Monster has assembled its cast. The film stars Olivia Holt as a teen girl who on the eve of Halloween, discovers that she’s a fifth generation monster hunter but before she begin her family’s true calling, the monsters will try to stop her. Joining her in the cast are Jennifer Aspen (GCB) and Brian Palermo (The Social Network) as the her parents, as well as Brendan Meyer (Disney XD’s Mr. Young), Kerris Dorsey (Moneyball), Katherine McNamara (New Years Eve), Luke Benward (Disney Channel’s Minutemen), Tracy Dawson (Call Me Fitz) and Adam Chambers (Good Luck Charlie). Stuart Gillard will direct from a script by Annie DeYoung, Ron McGee and Geoff Rodkey. Sheri Singer is executive producing. The movie is slated to premiere in the fall, during the second annual month-long Monstober event. In addition to her co-starring role on the new ABC dramedy GCB, Aspen will guest star on the April 22 episode of NBC’s Harry’s Law. Palermo is with Schachter Entertainment and GVA.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney Channel has greenlighted its next original movie. Tentatively titled Girl Vs. Monster, it stars Olivia Holt of Disney XD’s Kickin’ It. The project, which will be presented to advertisers at the Disney Channels Worldwide Kids Upfront tomorrow, centers on a teen girl (Holt) who, on the eve of Halloween, discovers she’s a fifth generation monster hunter. But before she begins her family’s true calling, the monsters will try to stop her. Stuart Gillard is set to direct the movie from a script by Annie DeYoung, Ron McGee and Geoff Rodkey. Sheri Singer executive produces.
UPDATE 10:30PM: Disney Channel officially announced Girl Vs. Monster, as well as another new original movie, Teen Beach Musical, in which surfer girl McKenzie and her boyfriend Brady literally go into a classic surf movie musical where it’s bikers versus surfers. The movie is already in production in Puerto Rico. Disney Channel also announced the renewals of comedy series Austin & Ally. Additionally, the channel has picked up a second season of hit series Jessie and has also ordered a movie script based on it for its Disney Channel Original Movie franchise.