The Disney, ABC, Family Channel Television Group Parade of Stars
The Disney television group had their summer press junket with the family-friendly studio’s stars strolling through the ABC headquarters on Riverside in Burbank. It was a parade of beautiful people, all excited to talk about their sizzling summer shows. Regis Philbin was there (yes, he’s beautiful in an AARP poster-boy kinda way), boasting about hitting the primetime airwaves with a 10th anniversary edition of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Starting August 9 on ABC at 8pm, it’s a special two-week event. “We’re going to have some new elements to it, an extra lifeline and a celebrity a night to answer one question. It should be fun but I don’t expect it to be as big a hit as the first show ten years ago. The surprise is over,” explained Regis, who won’t be giving up his day job.
During the day of round table interviews with the talent from ABC and Disney cable shows, I was very lucky to be able to spend time chatting with the performers, and I want to put the spotlight on the sweetest stars.
Disney Channel’s latest teen queen Selena Gomez (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) is a lovely young lady who endeared herself to me immediately when she started gushing about how wonderful it was to have JoAnne Worley guest-starring on the show this season. “Wow, what an experience! JoAnne was so funny; I couldn’t keep a straight face when I was with her. But what I loved about her is that she took the time to compliment our cast, and that was a big deal for me,” said the 16-year-old. A big deal for the Disney folks was teaming Selena with Demi Lovato (“Sonny With a Chance”) in the TV movie “Princess Protection Program.” Building on that ratings blockbuster, there’s a special crossover TV event that has “Wizards” intersecting with two more ‘tween sitcoms, “The Suite Life on Deck” and “Hannah Montana,” on July 17 called “Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana.” Grown-ups should tune in to see what all the fuss is about, and you’ll have something to talk about with the kids in your life. And you can mention the upcoming “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie.”
On the ABC Family Channel is “Ruby & the Rockits” premiering July 21 at 8:30pm. It features David Cassidy and Patrick Cassidy playing brothers who were hot pop stars with the band The Rockits. The talented Alexa Vega (of “Spy Kids” fame) plays Ruby, David’s daughter who has just entered his life. “Ruby’s a real girl who people can relate to, struggling with all the drama in her family. But their common love of music helps them work out their relationships,” Alexa told me. “There are some very funny, all original songs that we get to do,” David said, praising Alexa for her “great voice.” Another fellow who knows about singing and being a pop star, Shaun Cassidy (Patrick’s brother and David’s half-brother) is executive producer of the series, still making mom (Shirley Jones) very proud.
The grandson of the late-great Gregory Peck, Ethan Peck shows that good looks run in the family, although he doesn’t ooze grandpa’s self-confidence when describing himself as “a shy dork.” Ethan is part of the talented cast of “10 Things I Hate About You,” the new ABC Family series. It’s based on the 1999 hit movie, which was loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.” Lindsey Shaw plays Kat Stratford as a very shrewd gal, while Meaghan Martin as her sister is “blonde.” Larry Miller, who played the dad on the big screen, reprises his role on TV.
Now, how about a dose of reality? Reality shows have turned into guilty pleasures for viewers. Many tuned in for “The Bachelorette” to see Jillian Harris go to Hawaii with a couple of sweet guys trying to find the love of her life. Another fun in the sun location, Bahamas Paradise Island has made watching “The Superstars” a delight. The show has paired celebrities with professional athletes, with the teams competing in sporting events at the Atlantis mega-resort in the Bahamas. Kristi Leskinen, the Olympic freestyle skier, said the best part about participating was “not seeing any snow, and playing with the dolphins.” I love that the wild “Wipeout,” on ABC Wednesday nights at 8pm, features contestants of all ages, shapes and sizes, who go through the chaotic and messy obstacle course to win big bucks and bragging rights as the Wipeout Champion. The show’s quick-witted host John Henson said, “I just stand back and make fun of everyone, and thank my lucky stars that’s not me.” Just like the rest of us.