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Disney enters Houston name into ‘Diaries’

Pop diva to produce pic

NEW YORK — More than a year after scoring with the ABC version of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” diva Whitney Houston is back in the princess business: Disney has paid mid- to low-six figures to option novelist Meg Cabot’s book “The Princess Diaries” for the pop songstress’ production shingle Brownhouse Prods. to develop into a family-oriented feature film.

Pic is on the fast track at Disney, with the manuscript out to screenwriters. Houston will produce “Princess” along with partner and Brownhouse exec VP Derbra Martin Chase.

Brownhouse’s upcoming feature productions include “Get Christy Love” and “Anything for You” at Universal and “Thirty Years to Life” at Fox.

Scheduled to be published in hardback by Avon’s young adult line this coming June, “Princess” is said to read like a hip, urban version of “Eloise.”

It tells the story of feisty and rebellious 16-year-old Mia, who discovers much to her dismay that she is in fact the princess of a small European country. As a result, Mia must suffer though the indignity of “princess lessons” at the hands of her stern grandmother.

Bill Contardi at William Morris negotiated the deal on behalf of Cabot, while WMA’s Nicole David and Ron Nolte repped Brownhouse.

Disney development veep Karen Glass and creative exec Doug Short will oversee the project for the studio.

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