Disney Channel’s bet on rekindling the “TGIF” audience paid off on Friday as sitcom “Girl Meets World” opened solidly, drawing 5.2 million viewers and many more online via the Watch Disney Channel app and iTunes.
Disney Channel gave “Girl” a strong launchpad by skedding it behind the premiere of original telepic “Zapped,” featuring two of the channel’s latest stars, Zendaya and Spencer Boldman.
“Zapped” opened at 8 p.m. to 5.7 million viewers, enough to make it the top-rated cable telecast of the year to date in kids 2-11 (2.9 million), kids 6-11 (2.3 million) and tweens 9-14 (2.1 million). However, “Zapped” fell short of the high bar set last summer by Disney Channel’s retro beach-party musical “Teen Beach Movie,” which garnered 8.4 million viewers in its July 2013 debut.
“Girl” bowed at 9:45 p.m. with 2.3 million viewers in kids 2-11, 1.8 million in kids 6-11 and 1.7 million in tweens.
In a clear sign that parents were watching “Zapped” with their kids, the telepic did a healthy 1.3 million viewers in adults 18-49. “Girl” brought in 1.6 million viewers in adults 18-49.
With “Girl,” the series that picks up where ABC’s 1990s TGIF comedy “Boy Meets World” generated a tidal wave of media coverage and nostalgia for the Alphabet’s distinct brand of family comedies from the 1980s and ’90s. “Boy Meets World” reruns were a staple on Disney Channel for years, which primed the pump for interest in “Girl.”
Disney Channel said “Girl” ranks as the most-viewed series ever on the Watch Disney Channel authenticated app and the most downloaded Disney Channel series preview on iTunes. Prior to “Girl,” the record-holder on Watch Disney Channel was “Teen Beach Movie.”