Hilary Duff Plots Album, Merchandise Bonanza

Teen sensation Hilary Duff, former star of Disney's "The Lizzie McGuire Show," is looking to become more than just the nation's next teen pop princess.

Teen sensation Hilary Duff, former star of Disney's "The Lizzie McGuire Show," is looking to become more than just the nation's next teen pop princess. She wants to become a brand-name phenomenon. Duff's debut album, "Metamorphosis" -- a joint label deal with Buena Vista and Hollywood Records -- is due in mid-September, and that's just the beginning. Also on the way are Duff-branded videos, toys and a fashion line.

Duff and Disney have parted ways, after Disney passed on a sequel to "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," which did a solid $40.5 million at the U.S. box office, according to The Hollywood Reporter. According to industry sources, Disney reportedly was unwilling to pay a $5 million upfront fee.

The savvy teen, guided by her mother, Susan, is betting that she is enough of a bankable brand to find life after "Lizzie." Duff is now pursuing a new career that spans recording, movies, TV and licensing.

" 'Lizzie' was a great place to begin my career," Duff tells Billboard. "I loved the character, as it was very 'safe' for me, and doing the movie was a lot of fun. I got to record two songs for the soundtrack, and now it's exciting to go out on my own with my first album."

"The Lizzie McGuire Movie" CD on Walt Disney Records has sold 533,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album hit No. 6 on The Billboard 200 and is No. 13 this week.

"So Yesterday," the launch single from "Metamorphosis," is set for a July release. A video will debut on MTV around the same time, with Duff scheduled to co-host the network's staple program, "Total Request Live." The track was produced by the Matrix, the production team that made a star out of Avril Lavigne.

The album will be supported by ongoing film and TV exposure linked to "Lizzie." The DVD and home video release of "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" is due Aug. 12 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment. In addition, the "Lizzie McGuire" TV show has 65 episodes scheduled to air during the next two seasons, although only five shows are new.

In the meantime, Duff-licensed products are set to flood the marketplace. She has teamed with NTD Apparel for a line of Stuff by Hilary Duff for "tween" girls, ages 7 to 14.

Duff also recently formed a multi-faceted alliance with Hasbro to appear in launch advertising this summer for VideoNow, a product billed as the first kid-friendly, portable personal video player. It arrives at retail this summer with "A Day in the Life of Hilary Duff," a personal video disc produced exclusively for the format.

A good part of what she earns from licensing will go to Duff's pet charity, Kids With a Cause, originally part of the Audrey Hepburn Children's Foundation and headed by Linda Finnegan. "We contribute to everything from pet rescue to foster kids' care," Duff says.

Looking ahead, Duff has a high-profile holiday movie remake of "Cheaper by the Dozen," starring Steve Martin and Holly Hunter, for Fox and a summer 2004 Cinderella story "with a twist" for Warner Bros., led by Jim Carrey.