'Wizards of Waverly Place' movie casts ratings spell

selenagomez_wizardsofwaverlyplacemovie_290.jpgThe Disney Channel's newest movie/exercise in franchise building put up magical ratings numbers on Friday night.

"Wizards of Waverly Place the Movie" premiered to 11.4 million viewers on Friday, making it the most-watched cable telecast of 2009. It's also the No. 2 Disney Channel movie ever in terms of total viewers, behind only 2007's "High School Musical 2."

The movie could very well also end up as the most-watched show on television this week -- broadcast or cable. The Tuesday edition of "America's Got Talent," which has been leading the broadcast rankings for much of the summer, averaged 11.2 million viewers in the overnight ratings this week. There's typically a small change in the numbers when the final ratings are calculated, but at worst "Wizards" should end up second on all of TV for the week.

"Wizards of Waverly Place the Movie" follows the Russo family on a vacation to the Caribbean resort where parents Jerry (David DeLuise) and Theresa (Maria Canals-Barrera) first met. Daughter Alex (Selena Gomez), however, inadvertently casts a spell that undoes that meeting, and she and her brothers (David Henrie and Jake T. Austin) have to reverse the spell before it's too late.

The movie also drew predictably strong numbers among Disney's core kid and tween audiences, bringing in 4.5 million viewers ages 6-11 and 4 million in the 9-14 set.

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