The Disney Channel confirmed to E! News that the network scrapped the episode it had intended to open the hit series' third season—an episode titled "No Sugar, Sugar" that features a character (Hannah's pal Oliver) dealing with diabetes—after some initial concerns as to how the disease was portrayed.
According to a network executive, the Disney Channel's Standards and Practices team consulted with medical experts during the script-writing process "to inform the story and be sure it was told responsibly."
"Notwithstanding the measures we took, and based on the episode's preview and early feedback from parents, we removed the episode from Sunday's schedule and are now reevaluating it," the Disney rep said.
"We will await the results of the episode review by a variety of experts and then will make a determination on the episode's future. Most importantly, we listened to those who expressed their concerns and consulted with the creative team (programmers and producers)."
It was then that they chose to pull the Nov. 2 episode, opting to make "He Ain't a Hottie, He's My Brother" the sitcom's season-three premiere instead. Episode No. 2, "Ready, Set, Don't Drive" (Billy Ray
's message to the almost-16-year-old Miley
, perhaps?) premieres Sunday.
"Still, there is great interest, especially from parents, in seeing the subject of living with diabetes somehow incorporated into our storytelling for kids and families, so we're hopeful we'll do so in the future," added the Disney Channel exec. And it's not as if the Mouse House doesn't have a handle on the subject matter already. Also on Nov. 2, the Disney Channel aired an installment of Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream that explored how Nick Jonas manages his diabetes both at home and on tour. The 16-year-old JoBro appeared in a PSA afterward in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.