CABLE NETWORK OF THE DECADE

Disney Channel

CABLE NETWORK OF THE DECADE

Hannah MontanaHigh School MusicalThe Jonas Brothers. These inescapably popular names would most certainly not grace the pop-culture lexicon were it not for the marketing (some might say evil) genius at Disney Channel. It’s no understatement to say that this only-slightly ad-supported basic cable network has had more impact on the U.S. TV viewing audience than any other channel (except HBO, perhaps, but that network’s been in a rut since The Sopranos ended). Disney has crafted a star-making machine akin to the Hollywood studio system of the 1940s, with nearly as much control over its stars (not so easy in the Twitter ‘n TMZ era). And the numbers? HSM 2 delivered the highest non-football audience in cable history: 17.2 million, along with close to 6 million in DVD sales; the Hannah Montana 2008 tour and album grossed some $87 million; and the Jonas Bros. sold more than 3 million records since 2007. —Michael Bürgi

CABLE NETWORK OF THE DECADE

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