The Hills returns for its fourth season tonight

Just over three months after the conclusion of the extension of season three, The Hills returns to MTV tonight at 10 p.m. ET. A total of 20 episodes have been ordered, compared to 28 for last season. MTV says that this season, “Lauren, Audrina, Heidi and Whitney are forced to make big decisions that will set the course for the rest of their lives with 20 new episodes.”

As if a summer of magazine cover stories that reveal how producers work with paparazzi and newspaper articles about conflicts with neighbors wasn’t enough to keep the show in viewers’ minds, at 6:30, MTV re-airs a 90-minute sponsored special “Drama in The Hills: US Weekly Presents Top 10 Most Memorable Moments Ever,” a clip show featuring interviews with people talking about the show that first debuted this weekend.

The fourth season picks up at the beginning of the summer, and according to the trailer for the new season, which probably includes pretty much all of the dialogue from all 20 episodes, Heidi’s sister moves in with her and Spencer, there’s Brody drama, Audrina and Lauren talk and cry, and there’s other assorted drama:

The Hills [MTV]
MTV’S Hit Series “The Hills” Returns for Season 4… [MTV press release]
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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.