The Friday premiere of Disney Channel original movie “Princess Protection Program” emerged as 2009’s most-watched scripted program on cable, tallying 8.5 million viewers.
Starring Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, “Princess” also became No. 1 for the year on both broadcast and cable in the 6-11 and 9-14 demos.
Combined with a firstrun episode of Gomez’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” Disney for the night drew its second-highest audience turnout of all time, trailing only the Aug. 17, 2007 evening marked by the premiere of “High School Musical 2” and an episode of “Hannah Montana,” which became cable’s most-watched series telecast ever.
“Princess” ranks as the No. 3 original movie premiere in Disney history, behind “HSM2” and 2008’s “Camp Rock” and drew approximately two-thirds of all girls watching television during its airing.
Disney was No. 1 in total primetime viewers Friday, defeating NBC by nearly 1 million.
Previously, the top scripted cable program for 2009 had been the season premiere of TNT’s “The Closer,” with 7.1 million tuning in.