'Hannah Montana' gets a fourth season

Mileycyrus_hannahmontanathemovieredcarpet_290 Hannah Montana may be leaving her home -- but "Hannah Montana" isn't leaving its home.

The Disney Channel announced Monday (June 1) that it has ordered a fourth season of its flagship series, keeping Miley Cyrus in the fold for at least one more year. Season three finishes production this week, and the cast and crew will go back to work early next year.

Also Monday, the cable channel picked up its new series "Sonny with a Chance" for a second season and named a director for the fourth incarnation of "High School Musical."

"'Hannah Montana' has become one of the most iconic series in television history," Disney Channel chief Gary Marsh says in what's perhaps just a bit of an overstatement. "That is a direct result of the extraordinary collaboration between the show's producers, writers and cast --- all of whom constantly challenge each other to raise the bar, comedically, musically and from a storytelling perspective."

Iconic or not, "Hannah Montana" has been a huge success for the Disney Channel. The show has averaged 4.4 million viewers over its three seasons, and the Aug. 17, 2007 episode that followed "High School Musical 2" remains the most-watched series telecast in the history of basic cable (10.7 million people tuned in).

The show's fourth season will deal with the Stewart family moving away from their Malibu home.

"Sonny with a Chance," which premiered in February, has quickly become one of the most popular shows on TV with the 14-and-under crowd the Disney Channel. It stars Demi Lovato as a small-town girl who gets a role on a TV show and tries to adjust to her newfound fame.

The fourth "HSM" film, "High School Musical East Meets West," will be directed by Jeffrey Hornaday, a veteran choreographer ("Flashdance," "A Chorus Line") and director of the 1991 movie "Shout." It will delve into the rivalry between the East High Wildcats and their rivals, the West High Knights.

Casting is still going on for the movie, which will premiere next year.

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