Telepic 'Radio Rebel' latest vehicle for 'Jessie' star

Debby Ryan, increasingly becoming a go-to player for the Disney Channel, is toplining telepic “Radio Rebel,” a MarVista Entertainment production that will air on the cabler in early 2012.

Ryan, who launched her career as a co-star on Disney Channel’s “The Suite Life on Deck,” has the lead in upcoming series “Jessie,” which premieres Sept. 30 and recently had its initial order bumped from 13 episodes to 20 even before bowing.

She also starred in “16 Wishes,” a MarVista telepic that premiered on Disney Channel in June 2010 and was No. 1 in cable that night with 5.6 million overall viewers, most of them in kid and tween demos.

Like Bridgit Mendler of series “Good Luck Charlie” and telepic “Lemonade Mouth,” Ryan has risen in the Disney Channel farm system to take a lead position, while network stars Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez are already moving on or doing so in the near future. Cyrus’ “Hannah Montana” ended its original run in January, while Gomez’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” is wrapping up its final season.

“Debby is a talented young actress who connects to a wide fanbase because she’s genuine, relatable and aspirational all at once,” said Disney Channels Worldwide entertainment prexy and chief creative officer Gary Marsh. “Our viewers have followed her from ‘The Suite Life on Deck’ to ’16 Wishes,’ and we’re pleased to be working with her again.”

Based on the novel “Shrinking Violet” by Danielle Joseph, “Rebel” features Ryan as an ostensibly nondescript high school junior who is secretly the most popular radio DJ in Seattle. Sarena Parmar, Adam DiMarco, Atticus Mitchell and Merritt Patterson co-star.

Peter Howitt (“Sliding Doors”) is directing “Radio Rebel,” which completed principal photography in Vancouver with a script by Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott.

MarVista CEO Fernando Szew, prexy Michael D. Jacobs and exec veep of production Robyn Snyder are exec producing with Kim Arnott and Oliver De Caigny of co-producer Two for the Money Media. The film will also air on YTV, which acquired Canadian rights. Jane Goldenring (Goldenring Prods.), who sold the movie to Disney Channel, also exec produces.

“We are confident that ‘Radio Rebel’ features the same elements that made our first production a huge success including a tight, fast-paced and comedic script and an all-round talented cast, plus several original songs that will be sure to delight teens across the globe,” Szew said.In related news, Disney Television Animation has signed “Phineas and Ferb” co-creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh to multi-year deals that will keep them with Disney Channel’s most popular show for a fourth season (season three is airing now) and position them to create a “Phineas & Ferb” spinoff as well as develop other series ideas. The deal also gives each enhanced ancillary rewards.

Povenmire and Marsh will also help develop the “Phineas and Ferb” feature film at Disney. The recent “Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension” telepic became cable’s most-watched movie of 2011, premiering to 7.6 million viewers on Aug. 5, and has now been seen by more than 30 million U.S. viewers, including a primetime airing last Saturday on ABC.

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