The upcoming fourth season of the Disney Channel’s hit "Hannah Montana" will be its last, according to the Disney Channel.
Starring Miley Cyrus, the new season starts shooting Jan. 18 and is expected to produce enough episodes to run through spring of 2011, when the star’s contract for the show expires.
In the Disney Channel show, she plays the dual role of average teen schoolgirl Miley Stewart and famous pop singer Hannah Montana, concealing her real identity from the public.
Cyrus has made no secret of her desire to move on to more adult roles.
In fact, the series will incorporate some of Cyrus’ struggles with her teen vs. adult roles.
Disney Channel Worldwide’s Adam Bonnett told the New York Post that the season-three finale, "Is Miley Saying Goodbye?," is "a big one-hour event where we find out what Miley Stewart’s decision is going to be." That episode will air in mid-March.
The fourth season, starting in late spring, will continue to address the actress’s real-life effort to leave behind the character that made her famous.
The show debuted in March 2006 and last year spawned a hit theatrical movie, "Hannah Montana: The Movie," as well as 3D concert film "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert."
Cyrus has been trying to move into non-Hannah Montana movies. She has a cameo as herself in the upcoming "Sex and the City 2" and stars in the coming-of-age drama “The Last Song,” adapted from the Nicholas Sparks novel; that’s due out in April.
Cyrus also has several ongoing projects at the Walt Disney Co., spanning Disney’s TV, music, consumer products, publishing and studio divisions, according to a Disney spokeswoman.
In the ratings, "Hannah Montana" continues to deliver at all-time high levels in total viewers and virtually
matches its season-two high performance in kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14. In 2009, "Hannah Montana" was the Disney Channel’s No. 1 series in total viewers and tweens 9-14, and No. 2 in kids 6-11. "Hannah Montana" also placed among TV’s top 10 programs in both target kid demos in 2009.