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‘Wizards Return’ Draws 5.9 Million for Disney Channel

Special based on series 'Wizards of Waverly Place' bows on big weekend for Selena Gomez

A good weekend for Selena Gomez got even better Monday when Nielsen revealed that nearly 6 million watched her Disney Channel return on “Wizards of Waverly Place.”

Friday night’s premiere of hourlong spec “The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alexbewitched 5.9 million viewers, including 2.9 million kids 2-11, 2.3 million kids 6-11 and 2.2 million tweens 9-14 — standing as the top kids cable telecast of 2013 in both tweens and total viewers.

The supernatural teen comedy “Wizards of Waverly Place,” which made Gomez a star, was a popular program for Disney Channel from 2007 to 2012. Friday’s one-hour special event marked the show’s first original product in about a year. And while 5.9 million is nothing to sneeze at, a “Wizards” movie airing on the cabler at the peak of the series in 2009, drew a whopping 13.5 million.

Following Friday’s premiere of “Wizards Return” on Disney Channel, the net’s animated comedy “Gravity Falls” hit series highs in total viewers (4.5 million).

The big numbers for “The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex” came on the same weekend that a more grown-up Gomez scored big, alongside Vanessa Hudgens, in R-rated pic “Spring Breakers.” In limited release, “Spring Breakers” surprised B.O. observers by delivering the best-ever per-screen average for this time of year (about $90,000).

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