This spring is full of news about the Disney Channel. Coming off both the return of the Disney Channel Games and the announcement of a new television series, Hollywood Life published rumors of a new show for the channel starring Selena Gomez.
‘Wait,’ you might say. ‘Isn’t this the sort of thing Disney Channel execs should avoid?’ Sure, they always try to milk their stars for all they’re worth, but the network is already under fire for overworking Demi Lovato. Why would they go and make the same mistake with Gomez?
First off, “Wizards of Waverley Place” wraps up its final season next Friday. Gomez has already completed all of the work she’ll need to do for the series. Secondly, the rumored new show is a reality piece, one that would require much less commitment from Gomez.
The show, which I have to keep referring to in such vague terms because no title has yet been released, is being described all over as a Disney “Punk’d.” For those unfamiliar with Ashton Kutcher’s old series on MTV, “Punk’d” featured Kutcher pulling elaborate pranks on his celebrity friends and secretly filming the results. The pilot episode featured him staging an IRS-seizure of Justin Timberlake’s house, possessions, and even his dogs.
According to the Hollywood Life report the new series, for which Gomez has apparently already filmed the pilot, would feature Gomez pranking her fellow Disney Channel stars. It seems the perfect project for the now-18-year-old Gomez. She might not want to stick around to do more kiddie shows, but this lets her maintain her positive relationship with Disney while participating in a goofy but slightly more grown-up project.
However, all news about the show is still just rumor. I found enough reports about it on various websites to feel comfortable posting the information here, but so far nothing’s been confirmed from any official sources.
Hollywood Life claims they couldn’t get any response from Disney to their queries about Gomez’s supposed new project. They said they contacted the show’s production company, which said it couldn’t comment at the time. That implies, however, that something like this series may indeed be under production.
Even if the Gomez “Punk’d”-style show comes to life, I wonder how long it will last. “Punk’d” started to fall apart a bit after the first couple seasons, when Kutcher ran out of celebrity friends to prank. He continued staging hoaxes on other famous guests, but the whole thing seemed a lot more mean-spirited when he tricked people he didn’t really know. Kutcher tried to justify his actions by explaining before each scene why these over-privileged people deserved a little shake-up, but it fell flat because one could say the exact same thing about Kutcher.
A show by a Disney Channel star pranking her co-workers would likely be a lot tamer, with the pranks being more goofy and implying less life crises (such as losing one’s home or car). Also, once word of the show gets out other Disney Channel stars would probably know that they’re inevitably in for a prank (if they don’t already know in advance, something I sometimes suspected about “Punk’d”).
It remains to be seen whether or not this new show will actually come to fruition. What do you think: is this a good new venue for Gomez, or should she be focusing on other projects?