After bringing the franchise's third installment to the big screen in blockbuster fashion, "High School Musical 4" is coming back to the Disney Channel.

The cable network announced Tuesday (March 3) that "High School Musical 4" will introduce an all new cast of characters and will begin production later this year. The musical telefilm will premiere on Disney Channel in 2010.

"The 'High School Musical' trilogy introduced a new generation to the celebrated genre of movie musicals. In crafting this next iteration, we've challenged the entire creative team to raise the bar again -- and create something truly worthy of this extraordinary global phenomenon," says Gary Marsh, entertainment president for Disney Channels Worldwide, in a statement.

Of the plot, Disney Channel teases, "East meets West in a classic love triangle set against the cross-town school rivalry between the East High Wildcats and West High Knights." Expect song, dance and romance, we guess.

The original Wildcats may not be back, but the "High School Musical" franchise will retain some continuity with the return of screenwriter Peter Barsocchini, who wrote the first three installments and will write the fourth as well. Also returning are executive producers Bill Borden and Barry Rosenbush.

"High School Musical" premiered in January 2006 on Disney Channel and was an immediate smash, spawning a best-selling soundtrack, stage productions and an arena tour. The sequel premiered in August 2007 and drew a record-breaking 18.6 million viewers for its first airing.

When it premiered in theaters in October 2008, "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" had a $42 million opening weekend and went on to make more than $90 million domestic. It performed even better overseas, making nearly $160 million foreign.

The franchise has turned Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu and the rest of the cast into household names (in certain households). The Disney Channel release doesn't say if "High School Musical 4" will have room for potential cameos.

 

 

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