The fans spoke — and Disney listened. After a series of social media campaigns from superfans (and one enthusiastic cast member!), the tween sitcom "Austin & Ally" has been renewed for a fourth season by Disney Channel, Yahoo TV can exclusively confirm.
[Related: Check Out More 'Austin & Ally' Photos]
In an official statement, Disney Channel's Executive Vice President Adam Bonnett said, "The strength of this series helped make 2013 Disney Channel's highest rated year ever among tweens, an audience that is invested in the 'Austin & Ally' stories and the fun they experience on a journey with the characters. We're looking forward to delivering many more engaging stories soon."
The series, which is about polar opposite singer-songwriting duo Austin Moon (Ross Lynch) and Ally Dawson (Laura Marano) and their pals Trish (Raini Rodriguez) and Dez (Calum Worthy), was created by Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert, and it's been a fan favorite on Disney Channel and across social media since its debut in 2011. (In 2014, it's the No. 1 series in its primary timeslot among kids 6-11and tweens 9-14). But the show's future was recently called into question as rumors surfaced that the third season could be its last.
Up until this exclusive announcement, even the "Austin & Ally" writers were clueless about a Season 4 renewal:
@_LaraR5_ We haven't heard anything about a S4, we'll share when we know something. Disney still has a lot of time to decide.— Austin&Ally Writers (@AustinAllyRoom) April 16, 2014
Die-hard fans of the show have been heavily campaigning for a fourth season for months, despite the fact that "Austin & Ally" is still airing first-run Season 3 episodes. The hashtag #AustinandAllySeason4 was trending in March following a Twitter campaign from Worthy, who urged fans to let the cable network know how much they wanted a fourth season of the sitcom. (Think of it as a tween version of the old "I want my MTV" campaign!)
Worthy thanked fans for their support and urged them to continue tweeting:
The Cast of #AustinAndAlly LOVE your support and are so grateful for making our show a hit! Now we need your help.— Calum Worthy (@CalumWorthy) March 9, 2014
He even went on to promise Twitter fans that he'd follow them if the hashtag kept on trending:
Let's try to make #AustinandAllySeason4 trend every day this week. Every day it happens I will follow 20 people. Sounds good?— Calum Worthy (@CalumWorthy) March 10, 2014
Disney fansites quickly jumped in on the campaigning. DisneyDreaming.com revealed that a fourth season of the show wasn't guaranteed and encouraged fans to keep posting with the hashtag #AustinandAllySeason4, while TeenInfoNet stirred up buzz to keep the topic trending. A Twitter page dedicated to saving the show popped up as well.
Marano joined Worthy in sending words of appreciation to their fans:
WHAT?!? It's trending already?!? You guys are the best fans on the PLANET! Pluto still has you beat for the Universe…— Calum Worthy (@CalumWorthy) March 19, 2014
Worthy even created a Buzzfeed list titled "18 Reasons For #AustinAndAllySeason4." The 23-year-old actor cited the show's millions of fans, 100 million views on YouTube, and the fact that his character, Dez, finally nailed his hair swoop as just some of the reasons why the show needed to come back. He also dropped this social media tidbit: "In 3 days, #AustinandAlly generated over 58 million impressions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!"
Looks like the campaigning worked!
Check out a sampling of tweets from "Austin & Ally" fans:
New episodes of "Austin & Ally" air Sundays on Disney Channel.