August 20, 2007
'High School Musical 2' Aces Nielsen Final
HSM2 hangs onto cable's all-time ratings crown in Nielsen's final tally.
By Shirley Brady
WE'RE STILL #1: Disney's High School Musical 2 rocks Nielsen's final ratings tally.
Nielsen's final national ratings for Friday night validate Disney Channel's High School Musical 2 as the highest-rated telecast in cable history. As projected in Nielsen's preliminary overnight ratings for Aug. 17, HSM2's premiere attracted 17.2 million total viewers, or 17,240,884 to be exact.
Now confirmed at #2 for all-time total cable viewers: CNN's 1993 telecast of the NAFTA Debate, with 16.8 million. Cable TV's pre-HSM2 top-rated telecast record of all time — 16 million viewers for ESPN's Monday Night Football game on Sept. 25 of last year, when the New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons 23-3 in the first NFL game held in the Louisiana Superdome after Hurricane Katrina — now stands at #3 in the cable record books.
Two-thirds of all Kids 6-11 (25.0/67 share) and Tweens 9-14 (24.2/68 share) watching TV Friday night were glued to High School Musical 2. Disney noted that it outperformed every broadcast of Fox’s American Idol and CBS’s Survivor in Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14, while 4 out of 5 Girls 6-11 were watching HSM2 on Disney Channel.
Disney Channel also scored 14.0 million total primetime viewers, the largest Friday primetime audience for any network — broadcast or cable, excluding sports and Olympics — in nearly 10 years. (It's second to NBC's Sept. 5, 1997, coverage of Princess Diana's fatal accident in Paris.) Disney Channel's total primetime audience Friday tripled that of CBS and more than quadrupled its nearest cable cmpetitor, USA.
HSM2's other final national ratings for its premiere:
º HSM2 is the #1 basic cable original movie of all time, beating the previous record-holder — 12.5 million viewers in 2001 for TNT's Crossfire Trail — by 38%.
º It's the #1 TV telecast ever for Kids 6-11, drawing 6.1 million viewers in that age bracket.
º It's the #1 "entertainment" telecast ever for Kids 9-14, scoring 5.9 million tweens, and the 2nd most TV telecast (of any flavor) for that age group of all time. It was beat to #1 by a now-infamous telecast: the 2004 Super Bowl on CBS, whose MTV-produced half-time show featuring Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" became TiVo's most-replayed TV broadcast ever.
º HSM2 lifted Disney Channel's show that followed at 10:05pm on Friday, when a preview episode of upcoming original series Phineas and Ferb attracted 10.8 million total viewers to become the network's 2nd highest-rated telecast ever. It also attracted 4.2 million Kids 6-11 and 4.2 million Tweens 9-14.
o Friday’s all new Hannah Montana episode is now the #1 basic cable series telecast of all time in total viewers (10.7 million), Kids 6-11 (4.2 million) and Tweens 9-14 (4.2 million). Disney Channel’s third-highest-rated telecast of all time in total viewers, it also tied lead-in Phineas and Ferb as the second-most-watched telecast ever for Tweens 9-14.
º The network's repeat of the original High School Musical movie on Thursday, the night before its sequel premiered, attracted more than 6 million viewers to become the top-rated show on cable and the fifth-rated telecast on all television that evening.
Disney Channel's preliminary ratings for High School Musical 2 Friday night don't include two key groups of viewers: kids with access to Cablevision's iO digital cable or Verizon's FiOS TV service, as each constituency got a 1-week advance premiere of HSM2; or the "out of home" viewers who watched HSM2's premiere on Disney Channel at friends' houses or venues such as a Cleveland shopping mall. Click here for details on HSM2's sneak peek on VOD.
Last year's premiere of the first High School Musical (on Jan. 20, 2006) netted 7.7 million viewers — the channel's highest-rating telecast until HSM2 blew it away — and has since attracted more than 200 million viewers worldwide.