MTV announces 'The Hills' will continue without Lauren Conrad
By Steve Rogers, 04/28/2009
In a move that comes as little surprise, MTV has announced that The Hills will continue despite the departure of Lauren Conrad, the reality show's main star.
Rather than ending with coverage of this past weekend's wedding of The Hills co-stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt as previously planned, the show's fifth season will now continue with new episodes that will air this fall.
"Spencer and Heidi will be newlyweds, so the stakes are higher than ever before for the two to make things work," MTV announced in a press release. "Viewers will find out life in Los Angeles only gets more complicated as friendships, relationships and loyalties are tested like never before."
In addition to Montag and Pratt, the additional fifth-season episodes will also feature Audrina Patridge, Brody Jenner, Stephanie Pratt, Lauren "Lo" Bosworth, Justin Bobby, and several "fresh faces," according to MTV.
Conrad had announced -- and The Hills executive producer Liz Gately.had subsequently confirmed -- the show's currently-airing fifth season would be her last season on the show in February. According to reports, Conrad had already completed her fifth-season filming several weeks ago before changing her mind and deciding to attend Montag and Pratt's wedding ceremony after all.
Although The Hills currently ranks as MTV's top-rated series, both the network and the show's producers had repeatedly declined to say whether they planned to attempt to continue the show without Conrad, who has served as the show's lead star and narrator since it first began as a spinoff of the network's since-canceled Laguna Beach reality series she had appeared in.
"I can't even say if there is a next season. I have no information for you on The Hills beyond Lauren Conrad," executive producer Adam DiVello told E! News last month. "We're focusing on this season, and this will likely be our highest-rated season yet. I think a lot of people are going to tune in to see Lauren wrap her storyline."
Shortly afterward, Patridge announced that she had signed her own reality show development deal with reality TV uber-producer Mark Burnett and would also be leaving The Hills at the conclusion of the its fifth season.
Earlier this month, Patridge had said that a network pickup announcement for her new show -- which she'd gushed would be "a little spicier, edgier, older" than The Hills -- would be coming "soon."