NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Even before "High School
Musical 3" hits movie theaters in the fall, Disney Channel is
starting work on "High School Musical 4."
"We are writing 'High School Musical 4,' " Disney Channel
Worldwide president Rich Ross said Tuesday after a presentation
at a midtown Manhattan recording studio. It's likely to be a TV
movie unlike "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," though that
could change. Filming begins in two weeks in Utah.
There's no word on whether the cast and behind-the-scenes
talent will gather again for "HSM4," though some characters
introduced in the third go-round likely will star in the
"Are we going to have all the cast back? Probably not,"
Ross said. "Will we have some of them? I hope so."
Even for a channel that has huge properties in "Hannah
Montana" and "The Cheetah Girls," among others, "HSM" is big
business. The second TV movie shattered cable TV records last
summer with a premiere watched by 18.6 million viewers and it
has been a hit internationally as well. It boosted Disney
Channel to the No. 1 position among cable networks in primetime
Ross said that after the original "HSM," he went to Disney
Channel entertainment president Gary Marsh and asked whether
there was "a new story to tell" in the saga that launched the
careers of Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and
"We have learned that just putting a number next to a title
is a very old idea," Ross said. "We have to have a new story."
Marsh answered affirmatively with "HSM2" and later, "HSM3."
Now Marsh and Ross are confident that the "HSM4" script is