“High School Musical 2” proved the Disney Channel can boast of more than a one-hit TV wonder.
Friday’s premiere drew an audience of 17.2 million, making it the most-watched basic cable program ever, according to Nielsen Media Research. It more than doubled the viewership of the first movie, “High School Musical,” which drew 7.7 million in 2006.
The basic-cable record had been held by CNN’s airing of a 1993 debate on the North American Free Trade Agreement that drew 16.8 million viewers.
Parents knew where their kids were Friday: Among children 6 to 11 and youngsters 9 to 14, two out of three children in those age groups watching TV were tuned in to “High School Musical 2,” Disney Channel said Monday. Among girl viewers age 6 to 11, it was four out of five.
The “High School Musical” brand has become a cultural phenomenon with hit records, concerts and newly minted young stars including Ashley Tisdale and Zac Efron. The sequel followed the summer adventures of students Sharpay and Troy and their fellow Wildcats of East High.