Hannah Montana, the kids' show starring exploited teenager (or, alternately, picture-posing strumpet) Miley Cyrus, ran its first new episode in two months last Sunday. And the ratings were down 24%! Could this be the end for our hero—done in by Annie Leibovitz, Vanity Fair, and a child-unfriendly wave of bad publicity?
Compared to the first original show of the year, which aired in January, viewership for Sunday's show was down 33%.
That suggests the hubbub over series star Miley Cyrus' questionable photos in Vanity Fair neither helped nor hurt with viewership. Rather, "Hannah" was on a decline before the photo dustup.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has the obligatory quote about how the Miley "franchise" is "incredibly robust." But Huff suggest that she could already be on an inevitable downward slide, at least among young fans. Which would certainly cause her advisers to tell her to grow up, quick.
Experience shows that kid franchises such as "Hannah" that hit the rare white-hot phase are good for roughly 18 months, then start to fade.
"Hannah Montana" had been the top-rated show with young viewers the past two seasons, but because of the slow rollout this year, the heat has moved to the "Wizards of Waverly Place," starring Selena Gomez (who has appeared on "Hannah"), which now holds the slot as Disney's top show.