ABC heads to ‘High School’

Network developing new reality competition

ABC is finally getting a piece of Disney’s “High School Musical” franchise.

Net is developing a multiepisode reality competish themed to the “High School Musical” concept, with a nationwide talent hunt followed by a group of contestants studying at a music conservatory to hone their skills.

ABC is targeting a summer airdate for the “High School Musical” reality series.

Contestants will be eliminated each week until a final winning performer is chosen. Net is keeping details of that top prize under wraps for now, however.

Reality skein will include plenty of “High School Musical”-themed moments — with appearances by the franchise’s stars likely. Network is in discussions with a production company to handle the show, but that deal hasn’t been finalized.

Project marks the first time the Disney Channel has shared the “HSM” franchise with a sister network. It’s likely the kid-centric cabler will repurpose a second window of the reality skein.

Disney has licensed “High School Musical” to actual schools around the country for stage performances. That led to last fall’s Disney Channel/Barbara Kopple doc “High School Musical: The Music in You,” which followed a Texas theater group as they staged the play.

“High School Musical” is a major revenue generator for Disney; the conglom forecasts that consumer products related to the franchise will reach $650 million in sales this year.

The original “HSM” has been seen by more than 250 million viewers worldwide, the sequel by about 187 million.

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