March 24, 2006 – The Disney Channel Original Series Hannah Montana Debuts
“You get the best of both worlds; chill it out, take it slow, then you rock out the show.”
On March 24, 2006, the Disney Channel Original Series Hannah Montana made its television debut with the first episode, “Lilly, Do You Want to Know a Secret?” The series tells the story of a girl named Miley Stewart, who lives an alternate life as teen music sensation Hannah Montana, and how she tries to juggle both lives without the public knowing her real identity. The series became wildly popular, launching lead actress Miley Cyrus into a household name. It ran for four seasons, and spawned two films and several soundtracks; the series was also nominated for several awards during its run, including a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Children’s Program. The series was created by Michael Poryes, Rich Correll, and Barry O’Brien, and stars Miley Cyrus as Miley Stewart, Emily Osment as Lilly Truscott, Mitchell Musson as Oliver Oken, Jason Earles as Jackson Stewart, and Billy Ray Cyrus as Robby Stewart.
The first episode begins with a clip of Hannah’s live show, singing her new song “This is the Life.” Miley, as Hannah, is then seen at home with her father, Robby, celebrating the success of her sold-out tour. Miley’s friend Lilly calls, and Miley must change quickly out of her “Hannah Montana” disguise (sporting a blonde wig) before Lilly arrives. Miley’s older brother, Jackson, warns her that Lilly, as her best friend, should know the truth, but Miley refuses to tell her. When Lilly arrives, she brags that she got two tickets to the Hannah Montana concert, and when she invites Miley, Miley can only look at Lilly in horror.
At school, Lilly asks why Miley won’t attend the concert with her, Miley keeps making excuses. The subject is soon changed when Miley’s crush, Johnny Collins, stops by. Lilly tells Miley that this is her chance to talk to him, but Miley is rather nervous, until Lilly gives Miley her “lucky bracelet.” Just as Miley and Lilly are about to sit by Johnny in the cafeteria, the seats are intercepted by two other girls. The two go off to their own table, and Lilly returns to the Hannah Montana concert, with Miley telling Lilly that she doesn’t like Hannah Montana. Their friend Oliver arrives, and along with Lilly, berates Miley for not liking the pop star. Lilly once again pleads for Miley to go, and Oliver accidentally blurts out loudly that Lilly has an extra ticket, creating a mob scene in the school cafeteria. When Miley gets home, she complains to her father that if the kids were to find out she were Hannah Montana, she wouldn’t be able to be Miley anymore, and she’s worried that Lilly wouldn’t treat her the same anymore. Her father advises her to tell her best friend, but Miley refuses.
At her concert, her crush Johnny shows up backstage, and she gives him an autograph. Her father congratulates her on a good job, and after he goes to check on the limo, the dressing room window opens, and Lilly sneaks into the room. Lilly freaks out when Miley enters the room, still as Hannah Montana. In a desperate attempt to keep her identity hidden, Miley sticks her face into a cream pie and tries to keep hidden. When Lilly attempts to call Miley, Miley discourages her, but to no avail, and her cell phone goes off. Fortunately, Lilly just thinks it’s a coincidence. Oliver then appears at the window, but quickly falls from the window. When Miley tries to send Lilly away, Lilly spots the bracelet she gave Miley, and the truth comes out.
Initially, Lilly is mad at Miley for not telling her, and Miley tries to make up for it. She tells her that she wanted to tell her, but was worried that Lilly wouldn’t like Miley anymore. She promises to not keep secrets from Lilly anymore, and shows Lilly her secret “Hannah Montana” closet. Lilly then wants to show off Miley’s success to the people at school, but Miley tells her that no one can know. Lilly claims that Miley is being selfish for not saying anything, and Miley is furious, thinking that she couldn’t trust Lilly after all. When she talks to her father, he tries to reassure her that things will be okay with time, but Miley is unsure. The next day, Lilly shows up again at Miley’s, and tries to apologize for her reaction to Miley’s secret. She says that she wouldn’t tell Miley’s secret because Miley is her best friend. Miley forgives her, and the two are best friends again.