Debby Ryan: Disney's Next Big Star?
Miley Cyrus has shed the wig, Demi Lovato's gotten real and Selena Gomez has come down with Bieber Fever. With its stars graduating, Disney needs a new leading lady.
Debby Ryan may be that new star.
Ryan has taken center stage on the hit show "The Suite Life on Deck," as country girl Bailey Pickett, and has brought the show, which stars twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse, to the top of the Disney Channel -- a spinoff of the Emmy-nominated "Suite Life of Zack and Cody," it beat both Cyrus' "Hannah Montana" and Gomez's "Wizards of Waverly Place" in the relevant ratings in both 2008 and 2009.
With that success, as well as the high ratings for her Disney Channel film "16 Wishes," Ryan is getting her own show on the channel. The Hollywood Reporter relays that Ryan will star in "Jessie," another show about a country fish out of water -- Ryan will be the titular character who moves from the country to be an au pair in New York City.
It's a case of life imitating art for Ryan, a Texas native who moved to California for the big time. As she's traveled the world on "Suite Life," Ryan will feature more and more prominently for the worldwide entertainment brand. Ryan was the face of Disney's upfront presentations earlier this week; in addition to "Jessie," Disney will premiere a "Suite Life" movie worldwide on March 25th.
It's a big, important gambit for Disney, and big opportunity for Ryan. Cyrus' run as Hannah Montana has ended for good, while Gomez will soon finish "Wizards of Waverly Place." While it hasn't always been an easy ride for Disney starlets post-Mouse House (see: Lohan, Lindsay), the exposure offered by the studio is an unparalleled career boost. Both sides hope Ryan can wrangle the stardom.