Disney Channel’s original movie “High School Musical” gobbled up 7.7 million viewers in its premiere Jan. 20 — the biggest audience in Disney Channel history.
The telepic, which follows a basketball jock and a shy bookworm who discover a mutual passion for singing, even steamrolled heavy competition from “American Idol.”
Perhaps most impressive, its soundtrack was the No. 1 album on both iTunes and Amazon.com last week.
“Music is a huge part of our DNA,” says Disney Channel Worldwide entertainment prexy Gary Marsh, citing a pop sensibility at the net that has nurtured thesp-singers Hilary Duff, Raven-Symone and Aly & AJ. “I don’t think many kids are downloading songs from ‘Chicago’ or standing in line for ‘The Producers.’ “