The original idea for this show was based on the That's So Raven episode "Goin' Hollywood", which was supposed to be the pilot episode for a sitcom called Better Days, in which a child star of a popular TV show of the same name was to try her hand at going to a normal school. The episode "New Kid in School" has the basic premise as that afore-mentioned episode. Other names considered for the title were The Secret Life of Zoe Stewart (discarded as too similar to Zoey 101 on Nickelodeon), The Popstar Life!, and Alexis Texas. Former American Juniors finalist Jordan McCoy and pop and R&B singer JoJo (who rejected the role) were considered for the role of Zoe Stewart. Miley Cyrus originally auditioned for the role of the "best friend" Lilly Romero, later changed to Lilly Truscott, but they thought she would be better for the main character, so she tried out for Zoe Stewart/Hannah Montana. Zoe Stewart was later changed to Chloe Stewart, which was eventually changed to Miley when she got the part. The names of Hannah Montana were changed a few times. Three of the previous names were Anna Cabana, Samantha York, and Alexis Texas.
In December 2006, Disney announced plans to release Hannah Montana products, including clothing, jewelery, apparel, and dolls, at select stores. Play Along Toys released the Hannah Montana fashion dolls, singing dolls and Miley Stewart doll, and other merchandise in August 2007. More Hannah dolls were released in November, along with Oliver and Lilly dolls. They became one of the most popular Christmas toys in 2007. Hannah Montana is signed for at least one more season according to Disney Channel. Filming for the second season started in December. The new season started in April, 2007, in which she is in high school. As stated by Jason Earles at the launch of the High School Musical 2 Extended Edition DVD, filming of the second season has finished.
In addition to the high ratings of the TV series, concerts for Hannah Montana have also been exceedingly popular. Tickets for every concert sell out, with some later being scalped for thousands of dollars. The shows attract much attention, with an example being the attendance of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich who later admitted to having watched every episode.
There's quite a price to pay when one becomes a celebrity at such a tender age. Today's biggest teen stars have to sacrifice leading their normal lives in exchange for all the publicity and hard work they have to go through just to get recognized. Such is the case for Emily Osment, who appears on Disney's hit series, Hannah Montana. She expressed that her efforts of achieving a sense of normalcy in her life were much in vain, as this year she had to leave the school she has been attending up until her ninth grade. This was due to the very busy schedule she has with the show, thus she and her co-stars now receive private tutoring on the set.
Osment admitted to the New York Times that being a celebrity does entail a lot of hard work, adding that "It's hard to manage."
The 15-year-old actress became a familiar face after her ongoing stint with Hannah Montana, where she plays Lilly Truscott, Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana's (Miley Cyrus) best friend. This isn't her first major acting gig as she had already debuted in 1999. However, it was Hannah Montana that led her to where she is right now. Of course, fame has a price to pay, and Osment, like any other teen idol, must deal with the pressures of the press and the rest of the web blogger population.
The sister of Oscar-nominated actor Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense), Emily Osment revealed that she was disappointed to see that "hundreds" of bloggers are posing in her name, and is not happy when fans take pictures of her walking in the street in her gym clothes.
Despite all these, the young actress is grateful for the opportunity that Disney gave her in Hannah Montana.
"Disney definitely sets up a fan base for you," she admits. "That's the biggest thing."
Her father and manager Michael Eugene Osment also says that he is doing everything he can to keep his daughter grounded as she grows up in the limelight.
"We do our best to try to be an average American family," he said of his children and wife, Theresa, who is a teacher. "When we come home from work we do everything from doing the dishes after dinner to cleaning up dog poop in the yard."
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