"High School Musical 2" enters interactive semester

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Disney Channel has big plans for the debut weekend of “High School Musical 2,” including interactive viewer chats with the stars and a sing-along telecast.

The premiere of “HSM 2,” at 8 p.m. on August 17, will include a telecast hosted from a backyard barbeque with the movie’s stars and director-choreographer Kenny Ortega, Disney Channel Worldwide president of entertainment Gary Marsh said Saturday during the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour.

Following the movie’s premiere, Disney Channel will preview an episode of the upcoming animated comedy series “Phineas and Ferb” at 9:45 p.m., and a new episode of “Hannah Montana” guest-starring recording artists the Jonas Brothers will air at 10:15 p.m.

As for “High School Musical 3,” Marsh said, “We’re working on a script and talking to talent. ... We’re hopeful and optimistic we’ll pull everybody back together.”

On August 18, an interactive viewer chat with the stars of the movie will be featured during another “HSM 2” telecast at 8 p.m., and a sing-along telecast of the movie, with lyrics to each song visible onscreen and available for printing at, will air the next night at 8 p.m.

In addition, “High School Musical: The Music in You,” which is being called a “documusical” that follows students in Fort Worth, Texas, as they produce a stage adaptation of “HSM,” is set to debut in the fall. It’s from Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple and Cabin Creek Films. The telecast will coincide with the kickoff of a theater grant program for schools being launched by Disney Channel and the NAMM Foundation.

Before the “HSM 2” premiere, Disney Channel is giving viewers “sneak peeks” of the movie, taking them behind the scenes and offering “HSM 2” games as part of what the network is calling its “most extensive interactive digital marketing outreach.” Before its premiere, “HSM 2” will be available on Disney Channel on Demand, while select music videos will be available at iTunes.

In addition, online elements will include the premiere this week of the music video “You Are the Music in Me” from the movie’s soundtrack, an audio streaming simulcast of Radio Disney’s premiere of the “HSM 2” soundtrack and behind-the-scenes features. Mobile offerings include an “HSM” game, graphics and ringtones.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter