MTV formally announced yesterday that it had ordered a second season of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. The new season will begin production this month and is scheduled to air in Summer 2005.

Referred to (by MTV) as television's "first reality drama" (although "unscripted drama" producer Mark Burnett might take issue with that claim), Laguna Beach's renewal was considered a bit of a formality given its strong ratings performance.

Focusing on documenting the adventures of eight rich and attractive friends at Laguna Beach High School in Orange County without the use of traditional reality TV conventions such as "confessionals," Laguna Beach averaged 2.2 million viewers during its run and drew nearly 3 million viewers to its finale, according to Daily Variety. More important to the youth-chasing Viacom network was Laguna Beach's performance among the Viewers 12-34 demographic, where the show ranked as one of the Top 5 shows on basic cable.

Given both its ratings performance and producer Gary Auerbach's recent media comments that plans for a second season where already well underway, the renewal was widely expected.

"MTV is continually taking risks on new types of programming with great success," Brian Graden, MTV
s Entertainment President, gushed in announcing the renewal. "Laguna Beach gave us an authentic and unscripted look at the lives of eight teenagers in an entirely unique way and was a hit with our viewers. We're thrilled to bring this series back and can't wait to find out what drama will unfold during this senior year."

Laguna Beach's new season will pick up where the first season ended and follow the lives of the former underclassmen Talan Torriero and Kristin Cavalleri as well as introduce new students and feature "guest appearances" by last year's seniors.

"We explored a whole new genre with Laguna Beach, took a creative gamble and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our story," stated Tony DiSanto, one of the show's executive producers. "In season two, the tables are turned now that Kristin is a senior and we'll get the story through her eyes. In addition to returning cast members, we also have a new crop of teens to focus on, and a whole lot of new drama too."

For those worried that they might have forgotten about what happened in the first season (despite the presence of what are sure to be endless MTV rebroadcasts) by the time the second season debuts, don't worry -- MTV plans to release a first season DVD set in conjunction with the second season premiere.