Before Selena Gomez made her debut as Alex Russo on “Wizards of Waverly Place” and starred in Disney’s original movie “Princess Protection Program,” she was a relatively unknown actress trying to break into the biz. When she was seven years old, she spent her time singing and dancing on “Barney and Friends,” but what you might not have known is that she originally starred in a spin-off of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."
That's right! Well, almost.
During Disney's glory days of the early 2000s, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” was a huge success. When a series is so adored by its fans, it only makes sense to do a spin-off. Yet before Zack and Cody climbed aboard the SS Tipton in “The Suite Life on Deck,” there was another spin-off starring Gomez that never made it past the first episode.
In 2007, a pilot episode for the show called “Arwin!” or “Housebroken” was filmed. Shockingly, the spin-off didn’t feature Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Instead of continuing to follow the sweet lives of the mischievous twin brothers, the show starred Arwin, the Tipton Hotel’s quirky engineer. It followed his life as he left the hotel to move in with his sister and help raise her three kids.
Although everyone’s favorite twins didn’t make the cut, the show featured “Pretty Little Liars” star Nia Pebbles (who plays Emily’s mom Pam Fields), Samantha Droke (who was also in “Princess Protection Program”) and Jasmine Villegas, all alongside Gomez and Brian Stepanek (Arwin).
Coincidentally, Gomez played a character named Alexa, who was one of Arwin’s nieces. The pilot focuses on her sneaking out to a party, only to get caught by Arwin in the end. It sounds like something the rebellious Alex Russo would dare to attempt.
Though it’s unfortunate the show never took off, it was all for the best. Gomez was cast in “Wizards of Waverly Place” that same year, and the Sprouse brothers were cast in “The Suite Life on Deck” the following year. And all was well and made sense during Disney Channel's golden days.