Lizzie McGuire may be the queen of 'tween, but don't expect to see her graduate from high school. Despite the hit Disney TV series and this month's movie spinoff, the character is kaput because the studio wouldn't meet 15-year-old star Hilary Duff's asking price for further ''Lizzie'' projects.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Disney had been planning to move Lizzie McGuire from a charmingly awkward junior high schooler on cable's Disney Channel to a blossoming high schooler in an ABC series. The studio offered to raise Duff's per-episode salary from $15,000 to $35,000, but her family sought $100,000. The studio also offered her $4 million for a sequel to ''The Lizzie McGuire Movie,'' plus a percentage of the profits, up from the $1 million she received for the first film plus a $500,000 bonus if the movie grosses more than $50 million. That seems unlikely, since the first film has stalled around $37 million after four weeks, but the Duffs demanded the bonus whether or not the movie reaches the milestone, the Times reports.
Each side blames the other for the split. ''We very much wanted to continue the Lizzie franchise," Disney Studios production chief Nina Jacobson told the Times. "But every deal has its tipping point, the point at which it no longer makes sense. Unfortunately, that's the point we reached in the Lizzie negotiations, and we ultimately had to say goodbye.'' The Duffs' lawyer, Michael R. Fuller, told the Times, ''Disney's strong-armed tactics and failure to pay our client a fee commensurate with offers received from other studios and networks caused the breakdown of negotiations with the Duffs. While the Lizzie McGuire franchise may be over for Disney, Hilary Duff's career is flourishing.''
In fact, Duff has two movies coming up, the remake of the family comedy ''Cheaper By the Dozen,'' and ''Cinderella Story,'' both for other studios. As for Disney, it has the upcoming DVD of ''The Lizzie McGuire'' movie and 65 episodes of ''Lizzie McGuire'' that the Disney Channel can rerun forever.