Disney Channel will resurrect its successful High School Musical franchise, announcing Tuesday a casting search for new original movie High School Musical 4.
The new movie will continue the story of High School Musical, which launched the first of three films in 2006, and will introduce a new cast of East High Wildcats and their cross-town school rivals, the West High Knights, said network officials.
Jeffrey Hornaday (Teen Beach Movie, Teen Beach 2) will direct and choreograph the movie, according to Disney.
The High School Musical franchise, which helped launch the careers of young actors Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Corbin Bleu, drew 7.7 million viewers in its January 2006 debut, at the time setting a Disney Channel ratings record.
The August 2007 High School Musical 2 film remains the most watched original movie in cable history, generating 18.6 million viewers.
"High School Musical is part of Disney Channel’s DNA,” said Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer for Disney Channels Worldwide in a statement. “It embodies all that we stand for. As a way of continuing to embrace that heritage, we're excited to announce 'the start of something new' -- as we launch a search for a new class of East High Wildcats to star in a fourth installment of the 'High School Musical' franchise."
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.