The Disney Channel launched the television musical genre with the “High School Musical” franchise. Now its hipper older sibling ABC Family Channel is getting into the musical business. At the network’s TCA panel on Monday, ABC Family president Michael Riley hyped up the channel’s upcoming musical films. On January 22, “A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song,” premieres. It’s a song filled contemporary twist on the classic fairytale. Later this spring “Elixir” debuts, which Riley compared to “Mama Mia,” because it features characters singing popular songs. The network’s 2012 Christmas movie, “Mistletones” will be about two dueling group of Christmas carolers.
Riley said that he viewed the films as taking the network’s successful romantic comedy brand “to the next step.” He is thrilled with “Elixir’s” cast which includes Chelsea Kane and Jane Seymour. He says that he is asking, “How do we build music into that?” Though he said that “Elixir” is not a backdoor pilot, if it proves to be a hit, the network might consider whether it would be possible to develop it into a series.
The network is also considering making a film based on last summer’s series, “The Nine Lives of Chloe King,” one of the channel’s few shows not to be picked up for a second season.
Riley also discussed the network’s relentless focus on targeting the millennial generation. The channel strives to integrate technology and social networking into all of its shows. “Pretty Little Liars” is the most tweeted about series on television. He is particularly excited about the upcoming season of the longrunning show “Make It Or Break It” because he believes its focus on elite gymnasts will be especially appealing during this Olympic year.
Looking ahead, the network is filming four new pilots, two dramas and two comedies. ABC Family next hopes to tackle the reality genre, though they have not picked up any series yet.
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