Two new shows, two leads named Jess(ie), two hits.
Ten days after Fox’s “New Girl,” with Zooey Deschanel playing a lead character named Jess, bowed to impressive ratings, Disney Channel launched Debby Ryan starrer “Jessie” on Friday to great rates as well.
The upbeat theme songs even seem cut from similar cloth, and not just because the one in “Jessie” mentions the title character being the “new girl” in town.
The premiere of “Jessie” was the Disney Channel’s most-watched series launch since “The Suite Life on Deck,” which co-starred Ryan, in September 2008.
“Jessie” drew 4.6 million viewers overall, half of them in the 6-11 demo and 887,000 in adults 18-49.
With “Jessie” as a lead-in, Disney Channel mainstay “Phineas & Ferb” had its best performance in the 9-14 demo ever.
Disney Channel also plans to air its first talent special for kids, “Make Your Mark: Ultimate Dance Off – ‘Shake It Up’ Edition,” on Oct. 14. Selena Gomez, Sean Kingston and “Shake It Up” choreographer Rosero McCoy will judge the six finalists that emerged from 30,000 dance-video submissions, with the winner announced two nights later on a results show.
Ryan and “Shake It Up” co-stars Roshon Fegan and R. Brandon Johnson will host.