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Fifth season of 'The Hills' returns March 30, may not be its last

March 4, 2009 | 12:01 am

Laurenwhitneyaudrina01040 Lauren Conrad may be leaving "The Hills," but that may not mean the end of the show.

An insider is now saying MTV is contemplating continuing the series with the existing cast of glam Angelenos -- Audrina, Brody, Heidi, Spencer, et al -- sans Conrad.

Her final 10-episode fifth season -- yes, MTV has now nixed calling the last batch "bonus episodes" -- is set to return on March 30 at 10 p.m.

How "The Hills" goes on without her is anyone's guess. Conrad, after all, has been the center of all things "Hills," getting romanced, backstabbed by her friends, reunited with old ones and disappointed by all, over the course of the last four seasons.

Then again, Heidi and Spencer work overtime to make sure the series has stayed in the headlines, and it's not unthinkable to imagine the show re-focused on them. Audrina and Justin Bobby? Not so much.

Whatever the case, "The Hills" will undoubtedly send Conrad off with a fond farewell.

"Fans first fell in love with Lauren when she was just 17 years old and a high school senior in Laguna Beach," executive producer Liz Gately told us. "For the five years that followed, Lauren allowed MTV to follow every aspect of her incredible journey in life. We watched her grow into an adult on 'The Hills,' from her first real love to finding a career in fashion to difficult times when friendships unraveled. It is bittersweet, but I understand why she is saying goodbye.

"I will be forever grateful for all that she shared with us and am incredibly proud of the television we made together."

-- Denise Martin

Photo credit: Jeff Lipsky / MTV

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