How to get a show back on the road when its star is sidelined?

Though Demi Lovato's foray into treatment to get help for emotional and physical issues happened to coincide with a planned hiatus from Sonny With a Chance, the Disney Channel has come up with a way to keep the plot rolling without Sonny herself.

Just in case.

According to Variety, producers will focus the sitcom's plot on the show-within-a-show, So Random!, on which newcomer Sonny is just one of the bunch, when shooting on season three gets underway in January.

The idea isn't entirely out of left field: One "episode" of So Random! already aired Oct. 17 as a stand-alone special, the network was pleased with its performance, and another one is slated for later this month.

But this doesn't mean Lovato is for sure not returning to her show by January. This is more of a contingency plan, according to the network.

"This allows her the time she needs to get well, without distraction or pressure," a Disney Channel spokeswoman told Variety. "Again, we extend our ongoing support to Demi and her family as she works to overcome personal issues."

(Originally published Nov. 12, 2010, at 6:00 p.m. PT)

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