'Waverly' actress to star in Disney Channel telepic

Wizards of Waverly Place” thesp Jennifer Stone has been cast in the lead role of Harriet Welsch in the Disney Channel’s “Harriet the Spy” telepic, set to air next year.

Canadian producer 9 Story Entertainment (which will co-produce with Disney) presold the film in October.

“Harriet the Spy,” based on the children’s book by Louise Fitzhugh, got the bigscreen treatment in 1996 with Michelle Trachtenberg in the starring role.

“Jennifer Stone is a great talent for our network,” sad Disney Channel programming head David Levine. “We know kids love to see series stars in movies.”

“Wizards” is a ratings draw for the net – “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie” is cable’s No. 2 scripted telecast of all time in total viewers (13.5 million), and cable’s No. 2 telecast ever in kids 6-11 (5.3 million/21.8 rating) and tweens 9-14 (4.6 million/19.0 rating), behind Disney’s 2007 “High School Musical 2.”

Pic will be helmed by Ron Oliver from a teleplay by Heather Conkie and Alexandra Clarke. Loosely adapted from the original story, the new version casts Harriet as a movie producer’s daughter determined to become the class blogger by dishing on the star of one of her dad’s pics. “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant Blake McGrath will choreograph.

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