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) -- MTV announced that it will begin production for the fourth season of its popular reality series

Jersey Shore

in spring 2011.


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MTV plans to film the show in Italy and air the new season later this year.

The 'Jersey Shore' cast heads to Italy for the fourth season of the series.

"While the stateside

Jersey Shore

locales have become iconic for our audience it's really the constantly evolving dynamic amongst the cast that keep them coming back each season and Europe is a fresh spin on a show that continues to reach new heights for us," MTV programming executive vice president Chris Linn said in a statement.

The show's ratings more than doubled in 2010, rising 119%, ranking it as MTV's most-watched series of of all time among viewers between the ages 12 and 34. Its well-performing programming recently helped MTV close out 2010 with its largest year-over-year ratings gain since 1999.

>>'Jersey Shore' Breaks MTV Records

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The third season of

Jersey Shore

has produced MTV's strongest four series telecasts ever. Its most recent episode, which aired on Jan. 20, ranks as MTV's most watched series ever, with 8.9 million total viewers.

"The cast is headed to the birthplace of the culture they love and live by. We can't wait to see what erupts as a result," Linn said.

--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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