How the ‘Hannah Montana’ Show Got Its Start on RTHK Live!
When the “Hannah Montag” television show first premiered on RTR in 2007, it was a new way for a show to get a live audience in the U.S. “We had to get all the shows that aired in the UK on a cable channel,” explains co-executive producer and showrunner Jeff Rader.
“I think we’re the first network that had a live show on a television channel.”
The series followed Montag as she grew up on a farm, got her high school diploma, and then became a waitress in the town of Woburn, Massachusetts.
It also featured the first ever live concert, a rousing rendition of “The Bells of Waverly Place” that drew nearly 2,000 fans.
“It was a huge success,” says Rader, who was the showrunner on the first season of “Pilot.”
“It just blew us away.”
But the series wasn’t just an overnight hit; it became a hit with a loyal following that continued to grow.
“Hannah’s story was the one that resonated with people who wanted to know more about their lives, and so we created a second series,” says Jeff Raser, who directed the second season.
“The Hannah Montag show became one of the most successful scripted series in the history of television, and we are proud of it.”
“We wanted to build something for everyone to watch, and to make a show that would really resonate with everyone,” Rader continues.
“Because if you watch a show, you want to know the truth.
That’s what Hannah Montage does: She’s telling the truth, and that’s what people care about.
We wanted to make it a series that would reach people of all ages, so it wasn’t a show for a certain demographic, it wasn ‘Girls on TV’ and ‘The West Wing.’
It was a show with a lot of characters and a lot that was fun.”
Rader has since directed the first and second seasons of “American Idol,” “Million Dollar Listing,” and “The West Side Story.”
But he’s never made an original series for a network before, and he says he’s already thinking about making another one.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever done that before,” he says.
“If I did it, it would be on network television.
It’s not going to be a network sitcom.
It would have to be something different.”
To help get the series off the ground, Rader says he was in contact with the show’s producers, who reached out to him in the hopes that he would direct.
“They got a lot out of me.
I’ve never directed an original show before, but I knew what I wanted to do and I could see the show growing,” he explains.
“They were just great to work with.
I got the sense that I would be able to create something special and really tell a story that would resonate with a broader audience.”
As for the future, Ryer says he’ll keep pushing his ideas for a new show, but he says it won’t necessarily be a show he’ll be directing.
“That would be a crazy, crazy thing for me to do, and I’m not going for that,” he admits.
“But I can’t wait to start again.
And if we do, I want to make sure I don’t do it on a show like ‘Pilot.'”
You can watch the entire episode of “Hanna Montana” on the RTR Facebook page.