The CW has announced that it’s giving early renewals to a few of its heavy hitters – including renewing teen-thriller The Vampire Diaries for a fourth season. While fans of the show are unquestionably excited, the news of the series return comes as no big surprise, considering The Vampire Diaries is the highest-rated scripted show on the network.

Based on the series of books by L.J. Smith, the third season of The Vampire Diaries featured young heroine Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) in deeper danger and even more romantic entanglement with vampire-brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder).

In what has been dubbed “The Year of the Originals”, Vampire Diaries season 3 marks the upgrade of previous guest-star Joseph Morgan to the main cast as original vampire Klaus, who is hell-bent on using Elena to raise an army of  vampire-werewolf hybrids, all while dealing with his recently resurrected family of originals. In typical Vampire Diaries fashion, this season has also seen enemies turn into allies, and friends into foes.

The season 3 finale of The Vampire Diaries is set to air on May 10th, and will give us a look at the way things were before vampires were a staple in Elena’s life. Consisting of flashbacks, the show will jump to a time when Elena and Jeremy’s parents are still alive and well, giving fans a first glimpse of the Gilbert parents, Grayson (Jason MacDonald) and Miranda (Erin Beute). Also returning for the season finale will be Sara Canning guest-starring as Aunt Jenna, who was killed by Klaus at the end of season 2. We’ll also get a peek into the relationship of Elena and human ex-boyfriend Matt ( Zach Roerig), which ended before the series began.

Along with The Vampire Dairies, The CW has also renewed 90210, a revamp of the 1990s series Beverly Hills, 90210 for a fifth season – and as previously announced, cult-hit Supernatural will be back for its eighth season next year. Still no official word on the fates of CW veterans Gossip Girl or Nikita, as well as freshman series The Secret Circle, Ringer and Hart of Dixie. Furthermore, The CW has remained tight-lipped about which new pilots have made the cut – including Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, DC Comics superhero drama Arrow or the Beauty and the Beast remake starring Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk.

Catch the season 3 finale of The Vampire Diaries Thursday May 10th

The Vampire Diaries season 4 premiere this fall on The CW.

Source: TV Line