Exclusive: Ryan Eggold Talks 90210 Day, Season 3 And Creative Castmates

13 09 2010

Take a deep breath. The wait is over. After the second season finale left fans with quite a few cliff-hangers, 90210′s third season begins tonight.  But make no mistake: a new season won’t necessarily bring answers. The one thing we can count on is new storylines.

And, thankfully, I could count on Ryan Eggold (Ryan, 90210) to give me the dish last week as we chatted about the new season, his character’s evolution and just which of his talented castmates he’ll share significant screentime with in the upcoming episodes.

TeenDramaWhore: First off, I wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday.

Ryan Eggold: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

TDW: Did you celebrate on set?

Eggold: No. I didn’t. I wasn’t working. It’s really funny – I live near Universal Studios and we actually ended up going to Universal Studios. It was just sort of a random, “Why don’t we do this?” and it was a lot of fun. They have a new rollercoaster there that’s awesome.

TDW: Really? I’d love to try it.

Eggold: Yeah, this new Mummy ride. It was fantastic.

TDW: Well, I’ve been meaning to come out to L.A., and I was really bummed that I missed last week’s City of Beverly Hills’ 9-02-10 Day event.

Eggold: Yes! Oh my gosh, it was insane.

TDW: What did it mean to you to be part of the 90210 franchise on that day?

Eggold: It was cool. It was really fun. It was kind of weird because in Beverly Hills, and all over the place actually, they had posters up that said 90210 for 9-02-10 Day, not for the show. But it felt like it was for our show, because I can’t separate 90210 from anything but the show. I’d just see these posters all over town, in L.A. and Hollywood. It was kind of overwhelming, but it was fun. It was fun to be a part of something that means something to the history of a city.

TDW: I was able to watch a live-stream of the red carpet and part of the event online, and what I loved was seeing almost the whole cast there. The whole cast hasn’t been out in public for a while. There were only a few of you at The CW upfront, so this was the first time nearly all of you were together at an event in a long time. It was a really special event.

Eggold: Yeah, that’s true. I didn’t even think about that. It has been a while since everyone’s been out somewhere together. It was fun.

TDW: And you guys got feted with all sorts of amazing food and wine!

Eggold: Oh, there was some incredible food. If you make it out here, you have to eat in Beverly Hills. Everyone was sampling their restaurants, and it was amazing. And I was really hungry, too, so I was walking around eating everything in sight. It was delicious. There’s this place called Bouchon and they had these melons with feta cheese on top of it, and it was the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.

TDW: That’s awesome. So, there were no cast members there from the original series, right?

Eggold: No, there weren’t. I’m not sure why. I don’t know if they invited them or didn’t. I assume they did but I’m not sure. I assumed I’d see at least Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210) there or somebody, you know?

TDW: What memories do you have of the original show?

Eggold: I remember Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) being just sizzling. And I remember being just too young to be participating in what they were, in the sense that they’d be drinking and going to parties and having sex and all these things, and I’d be like, “What is that? I want to check that out. I don’t really know what it is, but one day I’m going to be a big kid like them and I’m going to do that stuff and it’s going to be awesome.” That’s what I remember.

TDW: That’s really funny, because I was really young when I started watching and it put these ideas in my head of what it was supposed to be like to be a teenager, and I always felt really crappy when my life didn’t measure up to theirs.

Eggold: Yeah, when you didn’t get a Ferrari for your birthday.

TDW: Yeah, exactly. Alright, back to the present day and this show and this show’s cast. A music video by Shenae Grimes (Annie) was recently released, and you starred in it. How did that come about?

Eggold: Shenae wanted to experiment with directing, and she got this song together. We actually ended up recording it here at my place, and had a lot of fun. She was embarrassed to sing, but she did and sounds great. She did a really great job. Everyone that’s seen it has said it looks really great and came out really well, and I agree. I hope she continues directing stuff. It’s fun to mess around with your friends in terms of making a short film or making a little music video or whatever.

TDW: I really loved it, and it was a surprise to see your face in the video and then it was a surprise again to see your name in the credits for providing some of the music as well. It just got me thinking how the whole cast has all these different side projects going on. Quite a few of you are involved in music, from Jessica Lowndes (Adrianna) to Tristan (Wilds, Dixon). All of you have these other avenues of art that you’re experimenting in.

Eggold: Yeah, it’s cool. There’s some really creative people on the show, and it’s really fun. I think everyone’s going to keep doing their little passion projects, whether it’s their music or writing or whatever they’re working on. Shenae’s into photography, too, and everyone’s got different things going on. I know Jessica Lowndes is releasing a single, and Tristan’s trying to put a record together, and I’m sort of trying to put some stuff together. It’ll be cool to start hearing those things, and seeing those things come to fruition.

TDW: I don’t expect you to remember, but I’ve actually interviewed you twice before.

Eggold: Oh, wow.

TDW: It was more than two years ago, on back-to-back days. It was your first CW upfront and the next day you guys came to the PEOPLE magazine offices where I was interning at the time.

Eggold: Yes!

TDW: And you guys just had preliminary ideas of what shape your characters would take, and I don’t think anyone could’ve guessed Ryan would now be struggling with alcohol and his self-confidence and about to be a father. He’s come a long way in just two short seasons.

Eggold: He’s fallen a long ways. It’s so funny to think about that day. When we first were starting the show, we had no idea what to expect.

TDW: I think an original storyline that you guys teased in those first few interviews was possibly a student-teacher romance, and that never happened. I understand showrunners have changed, and storylines are always rewritten. But something I’ve noticed recently is that Ryan isn’t interacting with the West Beverly students as much as he used to.

Eggold: No. He’s definitely more in his own storyline with Jen (Sara Foster). But this season Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) and I develop sort of a relationship, because I’m having a kid with her sister and sort of being part of the family in that way. Their relationship is affected because of it. Naomi and Jen haven’t been the best of sisters, but through this and her having a nephew, they kind of come back together a bit, which is nice to see. Also because of the Mr. Cannon (Hal Ozsan) stuff, which I caught a glimpse of in the finale of season 2, Naomi’s dealing with some really interesting stuff and some terrible stuff from what happened. I sort of become part of that with her and help her with that. I think Ryan is a good sort of – what’s the word, not role model – he’s a good guy to be a teacher because he’s grounded and he’s got a good heart. He cares for his students. I think he can be there for her. And it’s great to work with AnnaLynne.

TDW: What storylines would you like to see for him, or is there a cast member you haven’t worked with much that you’d like to share some scenes with?

Eggold: I’ve always said that I want to work with Lori (Loughlin, Debbie). That would be a lot of fun. I’d love to do some more stuff with Tristan, just because we have such a great time off set. He’s such a great dude. I often work with my romantic partners, whether it’s Jen or Laurel (Kelly Lynch) or somebody, and I’d like to see [Ryan] branch out of that, and see him develop relationships with the kids, maybe a new character or something.

TDW: I believe you guys are about a quarter of the way through the season in terms of script reads, and I thought it would be fun to play a quick game of Two Truths And A Lie. So if you could give me three plausible spoilers for the upcoming season, two of which are completely true and one of which, while possible, isn’t at all going to happen.

Eggold: Okay, so two things that are true and one’s not. Somebody dies in the first episode. Somebody is born in the first episode. And somebody becomes a woman, who is a man originally, in the first episode.

TDW: Funny. Very nice. Thank you. One last question, and I always ask everyone this because I keep track of it for my readers. I wanted to confirm that you’re not on Twitter. I know you’re not, but people rather hear it from you.

Eggold: I’m not on Twitter. I’m like a caveman. I’m not on Facebook. I don’t even know if MySpace exists anymore. I’m not on Twitter. I feel disconnected. I’m probably a loser because  I’m not on any of these things.

TDW: Well, I don’t think you’re a loser. You’re a hot guy and a star of a popular show. So you’re definitely not in loser territory.

Eggold: I like your interpretation better.

TDW: Thank you. But I would maybe ask your castmates to help set you up with a Twitter account. Nearly all of them have joined in the last year, and I think you have to be next.

Eggold: What do I say? What do you do on Twitter? Do I just say “I’m eating breakfast”?

TDW: Well, AnnaLynne likes to share a lot of her charity endeavors. Trevor (Donovan, Teddy) holds a lot of contests. He gives away swag to his followers. Tristan shares his music, and he’ll go on Ustream and show us him recording his music. People do say what they have for breakfast, and others get to know their fans. It’s what you make of it. It’s like “Choose Your Own Adventure” because you can choose who to follow and who to reply to and all that.

Eggold: It sounds really cool. It sounds like a lot of work.

TDW: Well, there’s no quota for how many times you have to tweet. But if you disappear, I might be upset with you but I’ll get over it eventually.

Eggold: I would like to share a little bit of music. But I would end up writing bizarre comments, just those weird thoughts that you have mid-day that you don’t share with people. I would end up sharing those and everyone would know I’m a total weirdo.

TDW: Well, I think Kanye West has that area covered on Twitter, but there’s room for you, too. And I know fans would love to have you. So if you do it, great.

Eggold: I’m fighting this 21st century but I probably have to join.

TDW Interview Index






News Roundup: 9-02-10 Day Coverage

2 09 2010
  • TV Squad wants to know your favorite Beverly Hills 90210 scene or moment.
  • PopEater has a look at Celebs Who Got Their Start On 90210.
  • PopEater also did a roundup of YouTube videos which use the BH90210 themesong.
  • BuzzSugar has a fun trivia quiz. I scored 100 percent.
  • CinemaBlend offers some interesting BH90210 facts and shares the writer’s recollection of watching the show.
  • The Washington Post shared some of their favorite BH90210 moments.
  • RedEye put together a photo gallery of characters from both versions of 90210.
  • Television Without Pity has a 31-page look at the BH90210 pilot. Yes, 31 pages. And it’s pretty humorous.
  • The Big Lead has a look at their favorite characters and moments.
  • Soap Opera Weekly, where I used to intern, put together two slideshows: Where Are They Now? (which has at least one mistake) and 90210/Daytime Crossovers.
  • Legacy.com has a nice post called Remembering Aaron Spelling On 90210 Day.
  • HitFix has a look at one of the show’s continuity errors, though their comment that Scott’s death was “a sweeps stunt” can be refuted by my interview with Charles Rosin (executive producer, Beverly Hills 90210), where he explains how the storyline came about.
  • Check out this collection of Beverly Hills 90210 baseball cards.
  • Nylon compared the original version and the new version, albeit with a few inaccuracies.
  • Go Fug Yourself, which has been very good to me, has a humorous look at some of the show’s fashion.
  • EW.com linked to their oral history of BH90210, which was published circa the series finale. I had never read this before. Do take the time to do so.
  • Yahoo has a look back at Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) and Jason Priestley (Brandon, Beverly Hills 90210) participating in a Project A.L.S. event at baseball games in 2002.
  • The Palm Beach Post mentions some of the musical acts that appeared on BH90210.
  • Flavorwire has an interesting look at BH90210-Man Men character parallels.
  • Gawker shared their favorite BH90210 memories, although some of the descriptions aren’t accurate.
  • Variety shared their picks for great moments.
  • MTV has a poll asking which of the guys they list, from both versions of the show, is your choice hottie.
  • Zap2it has a Where Are They Now? photo gallery for the original cast, though not all of the entries are completely up-to-date.
  • Zap2it also has a look at what they’re calling teen-y moments.
  • PEOPLE.com has an interview with Ian Ziering (Steve, Beverly Hills 90210), where he claims he tried to organize a reunion for today. Not sure I believe him. A rep for 90210 told me The CW had no comment.
  • PEOPLE.com also has a list of their picks for most memorable BH90210 moments.
  • The Huffington Post put together a photo gallery of what they’ve deemed to be ridiculous things about BH90210, but at least one of them isn’t accurate.
  • Idolator has a look at some of the songs that were featured on one of the BH90210 soundtracks.
  • The B.S. Report has a humorous and thorough, but not entirely accurate two-part podcast in honor of 9-02-10 Day where they give out 90210 Awards.
  • ESPN has a look at some of the athletes who guest-starred on BH90210.
  • Forbes has a list of life lessons to be learned from BH90210.
  • The Hollywood Reporter has an article about some of BH90210′s cast and crew.
  • Vanity Fair made a list of their picks for best BH90210 cameos.

I’m sure I missed some, so feel free to leave links in the comments.





News Roundup: 90210, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek

30 08 2010
  • Zap2it has spoilish video interviews with Gillian Zinser (Ivy, 90210) and Jessica Lowndes (Adrianna, 90210).
  • PEOPLE.com also has a spoiler-filled interview with Lowndes.
  • Three networks are reportedly trying to snag Good Christian Bitches, a TV series based on the books of the same name, which would be executive-produced by Darren Star (creator, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • Megan Fox, wife of Brian Austin Green (David, Beverly Hills 90210), did a (NSFW) video interview where she talks about a dream she had about Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210). BAG is not mentioned at all in the interview, which I thought was weird.
  • Ivanka Trump tweeted that she and her husband Jared filmed an episode of Gossip Girl today.
  • Bethany Joy Galeotti (Haley, One Tree Hill) has a few new recent blog posts, including one today where she said she was off to Vancouver to shoot the Life Unexpected crossover.
  • Rick Fox (Daunte, One Tree Hill) will be on the new season of Dancing With The Stars, making him the first OTH star to compete on the show, and making OTH the second teen drama (after BH90210) to have a star on the show.
  • Jane Lynch (Mrs. Witter, Dawson’s Creek) beat Julie Bowen (Aunt Gwen, Dawson’s Creek) for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy in the Primetime Emmys last night, but Bowen’s show Modern Family won Outstanding Comedy. Lynch lost for Outstanding Guest Star In A Comedy.
  • SoapCentral.com has an interesting article about conflicting reports as to whether Roger Howarth (Professor Hetson, Dawson’s Creek) is returning to One Life To Live.




News Roundup: Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, 90210 and More

16 08 2010
  • Ausiello has a “first look” at the Gossip Girl season 4 trailer. Tons of spoilers involved, so watch at your own risk.
  • Sam Page has been cast on Gossip Girl in a recurring role. Again, spoilers involved, so read at your own risk.
  • Kelly Rutherford (Lily, Gossip Girl) is featured in the new ad campaign for Monica Rich Kosann jewelry.
  • Kristen Bell (Gossip Girl, Gossip Girl) will star in Dance Of The Mirlitons.
  • Planet Green has an interview with Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) and Austin Nichols (Julian, One Tree Hill) about the crisis in the Gulf.
  • Nichols tweeted today that he’s going to shoot the movie LOL this week.
  • Emmanuelle Vaugier (Nicki, One Tree Hill) is now on Twitter. I’ve added her to the Twitter Directory.
  • Adrian Grenier and his band The Honey Brothers will appear on 90210. Once again, spoilers involved, so read at your own risk.
  • Trevor Donovan (Teddy, 90210) tweeted some interesting thoughts about 90210′s upcoming gay storyline. He also spoke to JustJared about it, though there is spoilish info here so read both at your own risk.
  • Zap2it is reporting that Ryan O’Neal (Spence, 90210) won’t be back. So I guess that’s one element of the above that we won’t actually see.
  • JustJared claims Jessica Stroup (Silver, 90210) and Dustin Milligan (Ethan, 90210) have split. I have not seen this confirmed anywhere yet.
  • Jason Priestley (Brandon, Beverly Hills 90210) is SoapNet’s Weekly Crush.
  • Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) appears in the first episode of NBC.com’s new webseries, FCU: Fact Checkers Unit. It was pretty funny, though they wasted the very obvious opportunity for a Dylan joke.
  • BlackBook has an interesting interview with Autumn Reeser (Taylor, The O.C.).
  • New York magazine has a great interview with Katie Holmes (Joey, Dawson’s Creek). She’s on the cover of the new issue.




News Roundup: 90210, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek

27 07 2010
  • TVGuide.com has spoilers on the 90210 premiere. And let me just say: it’s been done before (on the original and another teen drama). And let me also say that with this and the spoilers from earlier today, I am significantly POed.
  • Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hill 90210) will star in and executive produce Goodnight For Justice, a Hallmark Movie Channel film, which will be directed by Jason Priestley (Brandon, Beverly Hills 90210). Check out the press release while I try to resume breathing. Worth noting, though, that the plot is similar to one of Perry’s season 5 storylines.
  • MTV made a (funny to me, since they’ll likely never ever happen) list of projects Perry and Priestley should also team up on.
  • The Miami Herald has an interview with Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • Nicole By OPI has launched a Gossip Girl-inspired line of nail polish.
  • Billy Baldwin (William, Gossip Girl) will reportedly have a recurring role on Parenthood, which also stars Peter Krause (Jay, Beverly Hills 90210).
  • Chad Michael Murray (Lucas, One Tree Hill) will star in The Ex-Mas Carol, an ABCFamily movie.
  • The Conspirator, which features Cullen Moss (Junk, One Tree Hill) as discussed in our interview, will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
  • Examiner.com has an interview with Ashley Rickards (Sam, One Tree Hill).
  • Here is the aforementioned Pacey-Con video for FunnyorDie.com with Joshua Jackson (Pacey, Dawson’s Creek). Before I pass out from all of today’s excitement with my favorite teen drama guys, I have to say that vid was the best thing I’ve seen in a long, long time.




News Roundup: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, 90210 and More

14 07 2010
  • Janice Cooke-Leonard (director, One Tree Hill; Gossip Girl 90210; Dawson’s Creek) will direct a new webseries called Hollywood Is Like High School With Money for Alloy, the company behind Gossip Girl.
  • In response to a fan question about Lucas (Chad Michael Murray, One Tree Hill) and Peyton (Hilarie Burton, One Tree Hill) returning, Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill) tweeted, “Doesn’t look that way guys,” and later tweeted again (along with spoilish answers to some others questions) “LOOKS like no Peyton/Luke.” As far as where Leyton are, Bush tweeted, “They moved to Australia with their baby, to live with Karen and Andy :)” before correcting herself later by saying that it’s actually New Zealand. And Bush tweeted again later on, after being asked whether she misses the characters, “I’m so happy for them to have gotten what they want in real life, so I’m OK with it. People have to do what’s best for them!”
  • Huey Lewis (Jimmy, One Tree Hill) appeared on Hot In Cleveland this week.
  • Gossip Cop and I busted an Us Weekly story about Leighton Meester (Blair, Gossip Girl) and Blake Lively (Serena, Gossip Girl) feuding.
  • Taylor Momsen (Jenny, Gossip Girl) is the face of Material Girl, a new fashion line for Macy’s designed by Madonna and her daughter, Lourdes.
  • Examiner.com has an interesting character-by-character comparison of Beverly Hills 90210 and True Blood.
  • Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) will star in the UK production of Dick Whittington.
  • Christine Elise (Emily, Beverly Hills 90210) tweeted that she appears in Prom, a Disney movie, which also stars Aimee Teegarden (Rhonda, 90210).
  • Jessica Stroup (Silver, 90210) tweeted a cute pic of some of the 90210 cast outside the school that serves as West Beverly.
  • Staying In has a great interview with Autumn Reeser (Taylor, The O.C.). Have you read my interview with her?
  • Tate Donovan (Jimmy, the O.C.) will appear on Broadway in Good People beginning in February.




News Roundup: 90210, One Tree Hill, The O.C and Dawson’s Creek

28 06 2010
  • Teen Choice 2010 has announced additional nominations, with lots more teen drama-related picks. Kellan Lutz (George, 90210) is nominated for Choice Movie Scene Stealer Male for New Moon. Paul Wesley (Donnie, The O.C.) is nominated for Choice TV Breakout Star Male for The Vampire Diaries. Bethany Joy Galeotti (Haley, One Tree Hill), Shenae Grimes (Annie, 90210) and Hilary Duff (Olivia, Gossip Girl) are all nominated for Choice TV Scene Stealer Female while James Lafferty (Nathan, One Tree Hill) is nominated for Choice TV Scene Stealer Male. Together, Galeotti and Lafferty are nominated for Choice TV Parental Unit and Lori Loughlin (Debbie, 90210) and Rob Estes (Harry, 90210) are also nominated.
  • The Miami Herald has a short interview with AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210).
  • Seems that Vanessa Marcil (Gina, Beverly Hills 90210) married her old boyfriend, Carmine Giovinazzo, recently, as she was introduced at the Daytime Emmys last night with his last name.
  • Highlight of the Emmys for me: a clip of Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) from his Loving days being included in the tribute to soap opera maven Agnes Nixon. Bummer, though, that Jonathan Jackson, who appeared on One Tree Hill with his band Enation, and Carolyn Hennesy (Mrs. Valentine, Dawson’s Creek) did not win in their respective categories.
  • Galeotti has released a song called Shiver in hopes of raising funds to improve the water conditions in Kenya.
  • As a birthday present for Sophia Bush (Brooke, One Tree Hill), some fans are organizing a group donation to Global Green.
  • Zap2it posted pictures of Brittany Daniel (Eve, Dawson’s Creek) at last night’s BET Awards. One word: wow.
  • Wesley is nominated for Top Breakout Star Male in Kristin’s Tater Top Awards for The Vampire Diaries.




News Roundup: One Tree Hill, 90210, Gossip Girl and More

14 05 2010
  • Media Life has an interesting article on state of The CW, its success in the past year (including why Gossip Girl and 90210 are considered successful when their total live audience numbers suggest otherwise) and how it might approach the 2010-2011 season. The article also says there is speculation both One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected will return, which is the same speculation we heard yesterday. And let me put emphasis on the word “speculation.”
  • Kristin also reports that OTH and LUX could get a 12 or 13 episode order but cautions “no final decisions have been made.”
  • Gossip Cop and I busted a Hollywood Life story claiming Torrey DeVitto (Carrie, One Tree Hill) and Paul Wesley (Donnie, The O.C.) “got secretly married.” They haven’t.
  • Generation Y, featuring Daniella Alonso (Anna, One Tree Hill), has been ordered as a series by ABC.
  • NBC ordered three series with teen drama connections: Friends With Benefits, starring Danneel Harris (Rachel, One Tree Hill), Outlaw, previously called Justice and created by John Eisendrath (executive producer, Beverly Hills 90210), and Harry’s Law, previously called Kindreds and featuring Brittany Snow (Young Lily, Gossip Girl).
  • Luke Perry (Dylan, Beverly Hills 90210) worked with Soles4Souls today to aid those affected in Nashville by the floods.
  • Jessica Stroup (Silver, 90210) received the Sparkling Performance Award at last night’s Young Hollywood Awards, which were also attended by Jennie Garth (Kelly, Beverly Hills 90210), Snow, Wesley and Nikki Reed (Sadie, The O.C.) and possibly other teen drama stars.
  • Stroup has a new pixie haircut and spoke to PEOPLE.com about it.
  • Gossip Cop busted rumors that Ed Westwick (Chuck, Gossip Girl) and Jessica Szohr (Vanessa, Gossip Girl) are back together. They are NOT…but anything is possible down the road.
  • NBC canceled Mercy, which starred Michelle Trachtenberg (Georgina, Gossip Girl) and James Van Der Beek (Dawson, Dawson’s Creek).
  • PEOPLE.com reports Michelle Williams (Jen, Dawson’s Creek) is in “active negotiations” to play Marilyn Monroe in a movie.
  • If you were a fan of The WB–and I imagine you were if you’re a Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill fan–I highly encourage you to check out this roundup of promos from the network, featuring those casts and many other teen drama stars. It’s a chillingly beautiful trip down memory lane.




Brian Austin Green on Beverly Hills 90210

23 04 2010

“Overall, it was great. We were a really tight family. There was a bond there even through all of our differences and hating and loving each other. I still talk to Luke [Perry, Dylan] all the time. It’s one of those things you feel you’ll never really be able to duplicate.”





Exclusive: Charles Rosin Talks Beverly Hills 90210, showbizzle and More

14 03 2010

Think the Spellings are the only real-life Beverly Hills 90210 family? Think again. Meet the Rosins: Charles, Karen and their daughter Lindsey.

As you may recall from my previous interview with Charles, he was the executive producer of Beverly Hills 90210 for its first five seasons. Karen wrote nearly 20 episodes between 1991 and 1994 and Lindsey had a memorable cameo in Episode 2.o6, Pass/Not Pass, as a little girl asking Brandon (Jason Priestley) to dance the hukilau at the Beverly Hills Beach Club.

I mentioned in January that my interview with Charles was one of my highlights of TDW Year One. I never dreamed I’d interview him once–let alone twice and this time in person. But that’s exactly what happened in January on a weekday morning in New York City, where Charles, Karen and Lindsey came to promote their new media venture, showbizzle.

Charles and I sat down to talk about showbizzle and, of course, Beverly Hills 90210.

TeenDramaWhore: If you had to give your elevator pitch for showbiz, what would you say?

Charles Rosin: Showbizzle is a digital showcase for emerging talent that combines a webseries called showbizzle with a platform for talent away from the immediate pressures of the marketplace. So it’s two mints in one: it’s a show and it’s a resource for emerging artists. The show is populated by emerging artists and it was really conceived by emerging talents, namely Lindsey Rosin being the first one to be showcased, as the writer and director of the majority of the shows. So that’s the basics of it.

Unlike so many people who do webseries, what they’re hoping is “Oh, everybody loves our webseries and we create so much action and energy, FOX or The CW will find us and want to put us on the air.” We’re not interested in that. If we wanted to do something specifically for broadcast or cable, we would go into the room with those people and say “We think this works for your medium because…” But we like this form, the potential of it, the idea that you can just do what you want to do and not have to go through committees. From a business standpoint, there’s ownership potential that works in the current marketplace.

So the premise of the webseries is that Janey, a young wannabe screenwriter, who is very plugged into the culture of Los Angeles, sits in a coffeehouse in L.A. trying to write her screenplay and looking forward to all her friends who stop by and interrupt her from that. That’s the basic premise of it. What is a lot of fun about it is that for someone like yourself and the audience that you know, that although you meet all these disparate characters doing these short little two-minute snackable, for-the-digital-world kind of stories, you start to realize these characters are related and there is a serialized story. It builds to a serialized place. We’re fans of that. We try to do it with humor and insight and with a lack of snarkiness that is so prevalent in the digital world. We try to do a show that’s engaging.

One of our slogans is, “Just take a little bizzle break.” The one thing about all media, all the shows you cover–and thanks for even thinking about showbizzle in relation to it–is what they really are is diversions. Somehow in the last 20 years, the importance of the television business, the shows that are made, have been thrown so far out of proportion because of the material value of it. But all they are–we have a lot of issues going on the world–is just a little place to get a respite, to get a chuckle or a laugh. One of the things that Lindsey really values is when her friends say, “That happened to me” or “I’ve got a story.” The whole social network aspect came from Lindsey saying, “We should ask our viewers what’s happened to them,” because even though it’s very specific to Hollywood, because that’s where we’re set, at the same time trying to get ahead in life and figuring out what you’re going to do and using every connection you have when you’re kind of an adult but not really an adult, is something [everyone goes through] and we wanted to explore that.

TDW: How did showbizzle start? Who came up with the idea?

Rosin: The origins of showbizzle go back to a day in December in 2005 when Disney announced they were selling Lost on iTunes, which effectively meant the end of the syndication model that financed network television. Producers would make X number of shows and if they had enough, they could sell them to the local stations and other places, and that’s how the revenue would come back to the companies and people would profit from that. Fortunately, I benefited from that twice. Once from [Beverly Hills] 90210 and more recently Dawson’s Creek, which moved into profit because of the syndication of it. But when you sell something prior to syndication, it dilutes the value of the syndication and to do something that as dramatic as to put episodes on iTunes the day they’re running or the day after they run is a fundamental change.

I started thinking about that and how network television was going to be changing. In the spirit of “everything old is new again,” I started thinking about branded entertainment, which goes back to the pre-network era, where with the television of the 50s, companies–Chesterfield Cigarettes, Lucky Strike, Kraft, General Electric–would come in and buy the half-hour or the hour and be totally associated with the show, whether it be variety or comedy or drama. They all had that. That’s how the revenue was derived. I started to think about what company had the resources to do this and is currently not an advertiser on network television. I realized that anyone who was going to put their name above an entertainment project was going to do it and want total ownership and control and then go to a network or then go wherever they want to go.

So I approached Starbucks about a project called Starbucks Presents. We did this in the winter-spring in 2006. We were trying to create a social network for the people who use Starbucks, in store or at home, and program hours of different ways to do things. At the core of it was a daily soap opera about what goes on in a coffee house. Showbizzle is the distillation of that idea. By the way, Starbucks’ response was “Don’t bother us. Come back to us in 5 years. We’re in the music business.” They’re no longer in the music business. They’re still in the coffee business.

TDW: Where does the name come from?

Rosin: Well, we wanted to call it hollybizzle for a while but it was taken. So, showbizzle, not quite show business. And certainly Snoop Dogg is very “fo shizzle” and made my kids laugh. We were sitting around the dinner table–I have two other children besides Lindsey–and we came up with that and said let’s see if that one will work. We like the name quite a bit. It’s friendly and open.

TDW: What is your role on a day-to-day basis? Is this now your full-time gig?

Rosin: I teach at UCLA and I still develop shows. I was very active in the business from the late ‘70s to about 2005. Found my name wasn’t on the lists that I liked anymore and this was a place to do it on my own. The idea to get more sponsorships, provide things for the community–that is where I spend a lot of my time [with showbizzle]. I think like 85, 90 percent of the time I still do other forms of writing and developing other projects as well. I like teaching and I like doing this. If J.J. Abrams called, I’d answer.

TDW: What is Lindsey’s role?

Rosin: I get to refer to her as “the talent.” She’s the writer and director. The other woman who did a lot of writing and directing for the first season is a woman named Arika Mittman and Arika just won a Humanitas Prize for an episode of South of Nowhere that she did. Arika was my assistant on Dawson’s Creek. She’s terrific and very talented and gets along very well with Lindsey. Arika, she’s someone who in a different lifetime would’ve been head of daytime. She plotted the serial a little bit with Lindsey. But Lindsey, I say to her–sometimes to her consternation; it’s a family business and all–anytime she’s involved with the site, it’s better on all levels.

TDW: What has been the response you’re getting from people in the business?

Rosin: I think they admire the effort and realize we’re pioneers. This is not formed. People haven’t done things like this. They always ask, “How are you going to finance this?” and I kind of talk about it but steer away from it a little bit. It’s designed to be branded entertainment and we’re here in New York now to try and find brands. We’re hopeful that we can and we present something that has potential and is different. There’s certain things we did in the first year–we did a lot of monologues; we didn’t emphasize the cinema. We’d like to have a little more production value. Lindsey has a lot of ideas for the second season. We know where to pick up the show and what kind of sponsors we’re looking for. Forms follows function, after all…

TDW: You mentioned finding sponsors. Is that what you did on this trip?

Rosin: One of the most difficult aspects of doing webseries is, whether you’re doing six episodes with friends in your dorm room or if you’re trying to do something to ultimately become a daily habit on the web, is to get the levels of support that you need. When you do branded entertainment, you want to get to brands. Brands have not been oriented to this. So we’re starting to see the change and transition as more and more brands advertise or consider sponsorships and realize that it might be worthwhile to look at certain web series, to brand projects and put their name above the title and all that. It’s a question, though, of “how do you get access to that?” One of the ways is you do something and it goes viral and they come to you and say, “How do you do that?” The other way is to do some work, you put it together, you have more ideas, you go to the brand and say, “With your marketing support, we do A, B, C, D and E” and that’s the method we chose. Creatively, I think showbizzle is somewhere in a middle ground or at least between premium high content and user-generated. We want it have the feel of an independent but be scripted.

There was an event [this week] called Brand In Entertainment, which was an event to meet people who are independent purveyors of content and meet brands and those that are interested in the sector or interested in tipping their toe in. It’s a risk-adverse world, especially after the financial meltdown. It’s all going very slowly. But I had meetings with one or two other people who have access to brands and I wanted to let them know what we’re doing. It was a business-oriented trip.

TDW: You mentioned that you have people who are just starting out in Hollywood playing the characters in the webseries. Is anyone getting “noticed” from it? Any success stories?

Rosin: The thing that’s interesting is remember my original definition: digital showcase, emerging talent away from the immediate career pressures of the marketplace. So really, it’s only about a creative expression. Too much discussion in Hollywood has moved away from any form of creative satisfaction and is only based on business elements. That’s why you always hear about returning an investment and all that. Well, what about creative satisfaction? So the goal of [participating] is not necessarily to further a career but to allow them to perform. We are going to try and accelerate it. We’re going to formally announce soon that we’ll have a rotating group of casting directors as residents and we’ll supply short little monologues and encourage our community to perform them, upload the video and guarantee them that the ones the casting directors like the most, they will comment on them and be on the homepage. You get on the digital showcase. You’re in our community and now you get to be singled out. That might help.

This time last year, a cute little blonde came in and started [working for us], making calls to colleges for outreach. She was really nice. One weekend she told me she had to go to New York. For my class at UCLA, I was putting together a list of what [new] shows [the networks] had ordered so we could [evaluate] them and I saw the girl’s name. It was Brittany Robertson [Lux on Life Unexpected]. She was the girl making our calls. I had Subway sandwiches with her for weeks. I sent her an e-mail and said, “Either you get major kudos or someone has stolen your name!” Now she didn’t perform on showbizzle and I don’t think necessarily that people have seen someone on showbizzle and said, “I need that girl or that guy,” but I think it gives people the confidence to be that girl or that guy.

In the second season we may go after a few names that people know to play little characters. It’ll probably make a difference. Two of the biggest names so far have been Fran Kranz, who was on Dollhouse and was just terrific, and James Eckhouse [Jim], who isn’t in the same demographic. But people can come [to showbizzle] for various reasons. As Lindsey likes to say, they can choose their own adventure. They can focus on getting industry resources or they can focus on the show, they can express themselves, they can take a bizzle break from all the troubles in life.

TDW: What lessons from Beverly Hills 90210 have you been able to apply to showbizzle?

Rosin: The main thing I learned from [executive producer] Aaron Spelling is you make a show for an audience. The audience satisfaction really matters. We continue to adjust to what our audience is looking for, what they say they want. The other thing, which I always like to say, is showbizzle is low-budget production. We were able to do a little content for not very much money but still paid people and all that. 90210 was lower-budget production. We had much less money in the first two or three years than what was there afterward. When we built the college set, that was a big thing for us. We didn’t have big restrictions. The first few years we did. We learned how to do something economically and you learn how someone is paying for all this. Usually that someone is your corporation, whether it’s Disney or Fox or Aaron Spelling. In the case of showbizzle, it’s us. You have to be prudent. Production we were able to handle very well. It’s the digital stuff, the Web site stuff that sometimes spirals out of control.

TDW: I was curious to know if you and Karen were already married when you started working on the 90210 or if the relationship was born out of the show.

Rosin: I met a really cute girl in 1976. We were married a year later in 1977. We’ve been together a long time.

TDW: That is a long time.

Rosin: Yes, we’re very old.

TDW: I know she’s had a career of her own but she wrote close to 20 episodes of Beverly Hills 90210.

Rosin: She wrote the best ones. It was an interesting thing. Mr. Spelling had had a bad taste in his mouth about putting a married team on a show from when he did Dynasty. He never really wanted to let Karen come on the staff and be a permanent part. It allowed her to stay home and raise our kids, which is a great thing but at the same time, she really deserved a lot more recognition as a writer, as a writer-producer, and didn’t really get that from 90210 and I always feel badly about that. But it was circumstances beyond our control. I really love collaborating with her, and I really love collaborating with Lindsey, because you find out with writers, all writers have strengths and all writers have weaknesses. A lot of writers who really excel at dialogue have trouble organizing the story, the scene dynamics. That’s what I do in my sleep. But I’ll struggle over dialogue for hours and hours. So it was a really nice fit with us. One thing I would to say anyone who is starting out and is thinking about collaborating, is that you have to feel whomever you’re collaborating with brings more to the party than you do. You’re not carrying them but you’re benefiting from them. And that’s my relationship with Karen as a writer. Anytime we work together, it gets better.

TDW: I know you did commentary for the earlier seasons of the DVD sets.

Rosin: Karen and I were asked to do it on season 3 and I did an interview for season 4.

TDW: Since season 4, there’s been no extras. We’ve had seasons 5-9 with no extras.

Rosin: Want my opinion? Because there’s nothing to say. The show ended with season 5, in my opinion. Season 5, if you were going to do one, the person you’d need to talk to is Luke [Perry, Dylan] because Luke was so important in those first 12, 13 episodes where he has his money stolen and has his whole depression and anger, leading to the crashing of his car. Luke drove those first 13 and it was a pleasure to do them with him. He had such intensity. If he’s not going to talk about it, then what are you going to say? Tiffani [Amber Thiessen, Valerie] would’ve been the other person to talk to for season 5.

TDW: Some of us have also been upset with the cover art and that many songs have been replaced on the DVDs or scenes were cut because of songs issues.

Rosin: Knowing how much Mr. Spelling cared about the audience, the fact that the music isn’t up to the standards that we had, he’d understand it as a businessman but he’d be rolling over in his grave.

TDW: I heard you were once working on a 90210 spin-off concept with Aaron.

Rosin: When we were thinking about moving forward with the college years, we also proposed they could spin-off a West Beverly High series but they didn’t want to do that at that time. Then in the year 2000, Spelling wanted to do it and I was hired to do something on it but it didn’t turn out to be what they were looking for. It was like 90210, the next generation. I think it had the exact tone of the high school shows but it was just for a different generation of high schoolers. Instead we have this bastardized version that’s on now.

TDW: What was your reaction when you first heard about the one that’s on now?

Rosin: The first reaction was that it just shows how important the brand is and how much branding means. Every generation has the right to do anything. I don’t own it. It was Viacom, Spelling. Darren Star created the show. It was more his world than it was mine. I was there to do something much specific. But now I’m more excited by a show like Life Unexpected than recycling shows from a different era just because of their title. I don’t feel [the new show] has that much in common with the original other than it has a high school premise and it’s in Beverly Hills. But tonally, from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t have that much in common.

TDW: Not sure if you’re aware but they recently killed Jackie Taylor [Ann Gillespie].

Rosin: Why?

TDW: They did this whole cancer storyline.

Rosin: I understand that. When you run out of ideas, you get people sick. No offense to Joey [E. Tata, Nat], but we were struggling and had to do 32 episodes. So Nat’s going to have a heart attack [Episode 4.18, Heartbreaker]. If you see characters getting sick like that at random, it’s usually evidence of a bankruptcy of ideas, in my opinion.

TDW: It came out recently that Rob Estes [Harry, 90210] is leaving the show and people are very surprised. “He’s supposed to be our patriarch. He’s supposed to be our Jim Walsh.”

Rosin: I would imagine that you do things like that when you realize a few things have happened. After the 5th year when I left [the original], so did Gabrielle Carteris [Andrea] but so did Jim Eckhouse and Carol Potter [Cindy]. At a certain point, you get to be a mature show. You realize you have to cut your overhead a little bit. You realize the storylines are going to move into a different direction and things are going to be different. So you do make adjustments. Why did Estes leave? Maybe he was profoundly unhappy with what they’ve done with his character. I wouldn’t know that but that’s usually why actors leave. They weren’t satisfied. The show thought they were paying too much money. He wasn’t being utilized, etc.

TDW: It came out recently that Jennie [Garth, Kelly] is sort of cutting ties with the show as well. The media went crazy with it.

Rosin: I only have admiration for Jennie. I don’t see her that often but I know she’s raising a wonderful family. She has political and social issues she’s very committed to. I really admired her on Dancing With The Stars. She wouldn’t have been able to do that at 21, 22. To have that courage, I admire that a lot. Jennie was very loyal to Mr. Spelling, very loyal to 90210 and I’m sure that led her back to [the new show] in a way. One thing you realize is that people do for their careers what they think is best, both in getting in with things and getting out of things. And I never like to comment on that because at a certain point they thought it was a good idea.

TDW: Are you in touch with anyone else?

Rosin: I am. I’m in touch with the guys. Luke, not as much. Hopefully will get back in touch pretty soon. But Jason Priestley [Brandon] I consider a really good friend. I love Ian Ziering [Steve]. He actually helped on showbizzle, doing an interview. And Jim Eckhouse I actually put in front of the camera. So those are the guys pretty much. And I keep in touch with Gabby through her husband, who is my stock broker.

TDW: I spoke with [writer-producer] Larry Mollin recently and he expressed some interest in doing a panel to talk about the show.

Rosin: If you ever want to do something like that, you let me know.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index








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