When the "High School Musical" franchise was launched on the Disney Channel, the first few installments did fairly well in the awards derby. The dance-a-thons got tripped up, though, when part three headed to movie theaters as a feature film, forsaking a first run on cable TV like the first two parts. It earned $250 million worldwide, but didn't fare well with awards.
"High School Musical 4" will return to TV and — yikes — not star Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens. Curiously, it may not even include Kenny Ortega, the director of the first three installments. Word is still out on that. Writer Peter Barsocchini will pick up his pen again, though, and its original producers will return.
According to the Disney news release, new stars will be cast as leads and "High School Musical 4" will feature a love triangle "set against the cross-town rivalry between the East High Wildcats and West High Knights."
The original "High School Musical" was nominated for six primetime Emmys and won two. It beat "Dancing With the Stars" for best choreography and tied HBO's "I Have Tourette's but Tourette's Doesn't Have Me" for best children's program. It also won best children's programming at the awards bestowed by the Television Critics Assn.
At the Teen Choice Awards, the original "High School Musical" won best TV comedy/musical show, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens won best chemistry. However, in the individual category for best breakout stars, Zac beat Vanessa! But, hey, he also clobbered Miley Cyrus ("Hannah Montana"), so he wasn't just picking on poor Vanessa!
One year later, "High School Musical 2" was nominated for best children's program at the Emmys again, but got clobbered by "Nick News With Linda Ellerbee" and HBO's "Classical Baby." Its only other nomination was for best choreography, but it lost to "So You Think You Can Dance."
At the Kids' Choice Awards, part two nabbed only one nomination: best TV movie, which it won, beating "Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story" and "Jump In," a Disney Channel film about a wannabe boxer who leaps into a jump-rope competition while chasing a girl.
Director Kenny Ortega won the Directors Guild of America Award for the first installment, but "High School Musical 2" lost to "Jump In!"
At TCA, part two lost best children's programming to the educational cartoon show "WordGirl" on PBS.
When "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" came out, it competed for film awards, not TV, since it was a feature release. The only kudos nibble it got was from a crafts guild, the Motion Picture Sound Editors, which nominated it in a category for musicals. It lost to "Mamma Mia!"