Disney chases "Cheetah Girls"
By Melissa Grego
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - The Disney Channel has teamed up Whitney Houston to produce the
cable network's first musical TV movie, "The Cheetah Girls."
The project is based on Deborah Gregory's series of "Cheetah Girls" books, from
Walt Disney Co.-owned Hyperion division Jump at the Sun. Houston will executive produce
with Debra Martin Chase ("The Princess Diaries").
Raven ("The Cosby Show"), who stars in the upcoming Disney Channel series
"That's So Raven"; pop singers Adrienne Bailon and Kiely Williams, of the band
3LW; and Sabrina Bryan ("The Bold & the Beautiful") star as four Gotham
ninth-graders who dream of becoming dancing and singing superstars.
"It's a multicultural 'Clueless.' It's all about friends, fashion and fake fur,"
Gary Marsh, Disney Channel's executive VP of original programming and production, told
Lynn Whitfield ("The Josephine Baker Story") co-stars as a model-turned-fashion
designer who is the supportive mother of one of the girls.
"Cheetah," being shot in Toronto for a mid-2003 premiere, is budgeted at about
$4.5 million, considerably more than a typical Disney Channel original movie.
"You won't see people breaking out into song, but there are four big production
numbers," Marsh said. "It is a music-driven movie, much more so than anything
we've done before."
"The Cheetah Girls" will feature original songs performed by the four girls,
with a soundtrack release possible.
NEWSFILE: 15 NOVEMBER 2002