Disney Channel has handed a pilot order to Madison High, a music and dance-driven comedy pilot featuring the melodramatic drama teacher Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed) from the High School Musical franchise and a troupe of theater students. Disney channel put Madison High, described as the channel’s first musical comedy and its most ambitious series to date, on fast-track development in November when it began preliminary casting. Production on the pilot begins in March for a potential early 2012 series launch. “High School Musical introduced the joys of musicals and musical theater to a whole new generation and kids and families,” Disney Channel topped Gary Marsh said. “And now, with Madison High, we hope to give kids a whole new set of characters with whom to engage – along with more great original music, dance numbers and songs.”
Madison High will feature four original songs written by Matthew Gerrard, Robbie Nevil, Jamie Houston, James Dean Hicks, David Lawrence, Faye Greenberg, Kara DioGuardi and J.D. Salbego. Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush (High School Musical) and Lester Lewis (The Office) and Paul Hoen (Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam) are the executive producers. The pilot was written by Lester Lewis and will be directed by Paul Hoen. Joining Alyson Reed are young actors Luke Benward (Disney Channel’s Minuteman), Leah Lewis and G Hannelius (Disney Channel’s Den Brother), with casting for the other roles still underway.