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Miranda Cosgrove: The next ''Hannah Montana''?

Four years after playing the overachieving Summer in ”School of Rock,” the now 14-year-old is a headliner as the star of kids’ TV (and Internet) hit ”iCarly”

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With her new Nickelodeon show iCarly drawing around 3.5 million viewers each week, cherub-faced 14-year-old Miranda Cosgrove just may become the next Hannah Montana. Granted, she doesn’t sing like Miley Cyrus, but iCarly a slapstick-y tween sitcom that sees her and friend Sam (Jennette McCurdy) create a Web TV show every week — is making waves with tech-savvy youngsters. EW checked in with the L.A.-bred Cosgrove (you may remember her as cutie Summer from The School of Rock) and chatted about how she got started in the business, balancing school and career, and her favorite actresses.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What appealed to you about doing this show?
MIRANDA COSGROVE:
I think the best part about the show is that it’s interactive. It’s really the first show for teens that has a great reality element to it, but it’s still scripted. I think the cool part for me is seeing all the kids’ videos. Thousands have already been sent into the website! And the show just came out.

So, just like you and Jennette do on the show, kids create their own videos and send them in. Do you do anything with them? Will some of them make it into the actual show?
At the end of every show, there’s a video that plays as the credits roll. And on the website, there are going to be tons of videos.

You used to be on Drake & Josh. Is that over now?
Well, I’m not shooting it anymore, but there’s one more episode playing. I was in every episode, and worked with [Drake & Josh creator] Dan Schneider before he created iCarly. I think that helped a lot because I know him so well. It’s nice to work with somebody you’re really comfortable with.

This is your first starring show — are you ready for the attention that may come with it?
I’m excited that the show has done so well and that kids are getting into it. It helped that I did Drake & Josh, because I got to watch them do it. So I know exactly what I’m getting into. I’m friends with all my friends from elementary school — they think it’s cool that I’m in acting, but they don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

Do you identify with your character Carly?
We’re kind of different — and alike — because I hang out with my family and friends all the time, and I also make little videos with my friends all the time. She’s kind of into that. But she always knows what to do in a situation, and I’m not like that.

You make your own videos? Do you ever put them online like Carly does?
I’ve never actually posted them online before. We kind of just sing along to songs and do dorky stuff and then we’ll watch it. Maybe I will now.

NEXT: How Miranda balances work and school; plus, her favorite actresses

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you get started in the business?
MIRANDA COSGROVE: It’s like all those mall stories you hear. I was just at a restaurant, and I was, like, three years old. An agent asked [my parents] if I wanted to join her modeling and commercial agency. Of course, my mom went home and thought about it for a while, because she had never really thought about me getting into entertainment. So I started doing that kind of stuff. Then I started auditioning. It wasn’t until I was, like, 8, that I did much theatrical stuff.

What was your first memory of acting?
I did a Mello Yello commercial when I was four. And I was actually on a beach or something, so that’s one of the first things I can remember doing. And after that, I remember auditioning for Drake & Josh because it was, like, the first thing I auditioned for that I really knew about, because it was a kids’ thing. That kind of got me more excited about it.

How do you fit in school with your hectic shooting schedule?
I did regular schooling up to 5th grade and then started home schooling. I have a tutor on set and I do school four hours on rehearsal days. We rehearse three days and shoot two. And the two days that we shoot, we only have to do an hour of school, so we have more time to film and stuff, and we get an hour lunch break. We have all sorts of breaks during the day. I just call my friends and stuff.

Do the writers and producers ask for your input as a teenager?
Sometimes writers will come up and ask questions about certain words to make sure that kids, you know, still say that. We always crack about it because they’ll say ”wonderful” in sentences that maybe kids these days wouldn’t say.

Every week there will be a show within a show, but what will we see you do? Boy issues? School issues? Sports?
The Web show can be bigger or smaller depending on the episode. Sometimes, it may only be not that big of a deal, and then other times, it makes up the entire show. It’s been nice — they’ve been balancing it very well. In some episodes, it’s mainly about my life and the people around me. There are definitely boy troubles, and she gets in fights with friends — pretty much all the stuff that normal teenagers deal with.

Do you feel like it’s a pretty realistic portrayal of what real teens deal with?
Yah, a lot of the skits have happened to me — so it’s even easier to act it out if you’ve been through it.

If you had to pick someone to model your career after, who’d it be?
Well, I love Rachel McAdams — I think she’s like the coolest person ever. All my friends love her too. I love The Notebook and Mean Girls. And Reese Witherspoon is really great.