Spoiler: Watch With Kristin

10 08 2010

RELEVANT QUESTIONS–DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!

Reed in North Carolina: Are One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected really doing a crossover?
Yes, it’s true! Haley (Bethany Joy Galeotti) and Mia (Kate Voegele) will swing by to see Cate (Shiri Appleby) at the radio station for some nice crossover love on the Oct. 12 episode of LUX. I’m told the CW execs are hoping to get the OTH crowd fully sucked into LUX—as you should be!

Enough Chuck and Blair! I want the goods on Rufus and Lily, the best couple on television. What’s up for them thi season? Also, is Michele Trachtenberg going to be a regular?
I’m told that Michele is not a series regular, though we’ll definitely be seeing her in the beginning of the season, obviously. And as for Rufus and Lily, not a whole lot of major action going on there in the beginning of the season. But stay tuned!

Drew: Is the baby really Dan’s on Gossip Girl? Will Jenny Humphrey be back?
No comment re: the baby. But think about it! As for Little J, yes, she will return.

Anything good coming up on Gossip Girl?
Well, when I asked a good show source if there’s hope for Chuck and Blair he said “Of course,” so take that for what you will. Meanwhile, in real life, our very own Hollywood Party Girl is reporting at Jessica Szohr and Ed Westwick have reunited into full-fledged coupledom. Guess he doesn’t really care that just last week, Jessica was swapping spit with another gal (and we know this little gem thanks in large part to our partner in crime Marc Malkin). I wish Kristen Bell‘s voice was narrating all this cause it’d be far more fascinating…

Nadia: Will Quinn be back on One Tree Hill?
Yep!

Credit: E! Online

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Notes:

Appleby played Rene on Beverly Hills 90210, and LUX also stars Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek).

Take the Szohr and Westwick stuff with a grain of salt.





Recap: The CW 2010 Upfront

20 05 2010

If you haven’t already done so, you may want to check out the press release sent out by The CW and my “live tweets” from the event.

I arrived at Madison Square Garden shortly after 10am. I briefly saw Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl), Tristan Wilds (Dixon, 90210) and Paul Wesley (Donnie, The O.C.) signing autographs before heading to the red carpet, which was likely actually green, The CW’s signature color.

I didn’t have red carpet access unfortunately (but, really, I am just grateful I was allowed to go to the event at all; please remember I am just a one-woman, non-profit operation with no plans of doing anything like this when TeenDramaWhore.com started) and instead headed toward the entrance for the event. Outside were CW staffers, probably actually models, dressed in green, black and white “guarding” the entrance. The area soon filled up with people and I spotted the One Tree Hill Examiner, Meriam. (Yay for identifying people through Facebook pictures and Twitter avatars!).

Shortly after we connected, it was time to go in. We had tickets that had to be scanned, insuring that only invited, confirmed people entered the building. Once inside, there was a table of CW-branded bottles of water for everyone. I snagged one and will likely never open it.

There were 30 minutes to kill between when the doors opened and the presentation started and it felt like it lasted forever, since I was really anticipating the presentation. Also, when we first entered the theater, I thought there was no way it would fill up but it seemed to. The program actually started a few minutes late but still managed to finish around noon, even though it felt long–in a good way.

Katy Perry kicked things off, performing her hit “Hot N Cold.” In the middle of the song, she yelled out “Is it too early for you to stand on your feet and have some fucking fun?” Many people laughed…but no one moved. After a few moments, a few people stood up and then soon nearly everyone did. Perry also performed her latest single, “California Gurl,” before announcing it would be The CW’s “anthem” for their summer programming. She also had a penchant for lifting her dress a little too high as she sauntered across the stage.

Anyway.

Perry introduced Rob Tuck, the network’s executive vice president of sales, which means he is pretty much in charge of getting companies to buy advertising. He spoke very briefly, noting that “The CW had a lot of success this year” and that young people today see no difference between watching something on a TV screen and a computer screen. The latter point was stressed in several different ways a lot throughout the presentation.

Tuck introduced Dawn Ostroff, the network’s president of entertainment, who had control of things from there on out. One of the biggest “take-aways” from Dawn, right from the start, was that the network is targeting “Generation D,” with the D standing for digital. It refers to the generation of people who consume media across a variety of platforms–mobile devices, televisions, computers, etc. She segued from that into highlighting some of the network’s biggest successes. She pointed out first that The Vampire Diaries was not only the break-out hit of the past season but it is also currently the network’s most successful show in terms of total audience numbers and the key 18-34 demo. She said “Gossip Girl continues to be our most buzzed about show” and touted that the first few episodes of season 4 will take place in Paris. She also said “90210 hit its creative stride” this past season and pretty much attributed it to the move from the classroom to the beach. She especially emphasized that 90210 is the most DVR-ed show on television. For those that wonder why Gossip Girl and 90210 are so revered by the network and got early renewals despite low next-day total audience ratings, well, there are your answers: Gossip Girl’s buzz and 90210’s hidden ratings success. And together, they have the best demo rating in the 18-34 women bracket, which the network also highly covets.

From here Dawn went back to talking about the audience and the network itself. The median age of a CW viewer is 33. The CW is “the youngest-skewing network” and also has the highest concentration of viewers in the key demographics, she claimed. “In just four seasons,” Dawn said, “we’ve created a unique brand.” This segued back into the principle that is guiding the network: their audience is consuming media through different platforms at their own convenience. (AKA, TV shows aren’t necessarily appointment viewing anymore. Not only can you watch when you want and how you want, you can also engage in related media outside the scheduled weekly one-hour broadcast.)

Dawn took a break, letting a video do the talking. Along with clips from the shows, it highlighted the various ways The CW reaches people: TV, CWTV.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, mobile apps, etc. They tossed out figures meant to demonstrate the success of their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube use but the only figure that they actually claimed beat the other networks was Twitter, noting their official account has more followers than any other network’s. It all boiled down to this motto: “The CW: everywhere is possible.”

After the video, Dawn highlighted the two new series: Nikita and Hellcats. A description for each was given and a fairly long trailer of each was shown. The CW website has clips but I’m not positive they are the same trailers we saw today, as I haven’t checked yet.

Many in the media keep calling Nikita a remake of La Femme Nikita but, like 90210 and Beverly Hills 90210, I more see it as a “requel”–remake + sequel. It has elements that are completely being redone, as in a remake, and somewhat of a continuity with what came before, as in a sequel. In Nikita, Nikita (the title character) has “gone rogue” and left the mysterious “Division,” a group of powerful assassins. Nikita has been in hiding for several years but has now decided to come out to take down the “Division” as it trains a new group of assassins. Melinda Clarke (Julie, The O.C.) has what seems to be a supporting role (I didn’t catch her in the trailer at all) but she is very enthusiastic about it, as you can tell from my interview with her. It is executive produced by McG, who was the executive producer of The O.C. and is currently an executive producer on Supernatural. Action isn’t quite new to The CW with The Vampire Diaries, Smallville and Supernatural but unlike those, this doesn’t have a science-fiction element to it. The network hasn’t really had a strong, kick-ass, bad-ass female protagonist before, in my opinion, so I’m interested in seeing how people react. It’s even more interesting to me that the lead actress, Maggie Q, is of Asian descent.

Hellcats takes place in a college setting, one that they emphasized was “Southern.” The main character, Marti, has somewhat of a Peyton-esque vibe to her. She is studying to be a lawyer but doesn’t seem to really want to do it but it doesn’t matter when her scholarship is revoked and she’s on the verge of being kicked out of school. She learns that scholarships exist for cheerleaders and, despite her disdain for the “cheerleader-type,” she goes out for the team and–whattyaknow–makes it. (The rationale behind it seems to be that she was a gymnast when she was younger so she is incredibly talented at doing backflips and whatnot.) Matt Barr (Ian “Psycho Derek” Banks, One Tree Hill) seems to be her best friend, though I think he may want to be more. Also interested in her seems to be a male cheerleader played by Robbie Jones (Quentin, One Tree Hill) and I can only assume there will be some sort of love triangle with the three of them. Interesting to me considering how we know Matt and Robbie from OTH (plus Matt from Gossip Girl and The O.C.) and because it could allow for another interracial couple on the network (the other being 90210’s Dixon and Ivy and, previously, Dixon and Silver). Just having Robbie, though, adds some much-needed diversity to the network. Unfortunately, the trailer left me less-than-intrigued as it all seemed fairly predictable. It seemed to like a version of Bring It On in a college setting and a show you might see on ABCFamily. (Which, I suppose isn’t really a dis considering several of their shows get higher ratings than several of The CW’s shows.)

From there Dawn introduced two new reality shows: Plain Jane, which will air this summer, and Shedding For The Wedding, which will air mid-season. We only saw a trailer for Plain Jane, which essentially took us through the plot of one episode: an “average-looking” girl is given a makeover and coached on dating skills in hopes of getting her dream guy. It was pretty cheesy but also sweet and elicited a fair share of “aw”s at the end. But it also got quite a few shocked laughs during one of the segments, where the girl is zapped–as in, like electrocuted–every time she makes a “wrong move” while trying to flirt. (Think about a dog going past the invisible fence in the yard.) The promo still for Shedding also elicited shocked laughs as it showed two overweight bodies (no faces), one holding a much smaller wedding gown and the other a much smaller tuxedo. Couples will compete to see who can lose the most weight in time for their wedding, with prizes essentially being freebies for the wedding itself. It seems a bit crazy, I know, but it’s from the producers of The Biggest Losers and that show is pretty darn successful so perhaps this will work, too. I don’t know.

Now it was time to highlight the new fall schedule night by night. This will be the first season the network has original programming for all 10 slots: two new shows a night, no repeats. (Of course, if a new series is canceled and there is nothing new to replace it, as was the case this season…)

Monday showcases “addicting dramas” with 90210 at 8pm and Gossip Girl at 9pm. This keeps Gossip Girl in its current slot and moves 90210 to a day earlier.  They played up a Left Coast-Right Coast rivalry, which is somewhat interesting to me and something I hadn’t given much thought to before. Dawn brought out Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl) and they awkwardly chatted before AnnaLynne McCord (Naomi, 90210) came out. She and Chace debated whether New York or California was better.

Tuesdays contain two shows, One Tree Hill at 8pm and Life Unexpected at 9pm, with “passionate fans” who “demanded” the shows be brought back. Dawn also said One Tree Hill has “the most active bloggers” of any of their series. I have no idea what that is based on and I would guess possibly a letter sent to her as part of the fan campaign that indicated all the different sites and forums for the show, along with (I think) traffic figures and the quantity of content. I’m sure it’s impressive…especially when no other show sent in their info. I doubt the network’s staff really sat down and tried to figure out which show truly had the most bloggers out there–and who knows how they define “bloggers.” Anyway, they had Robert Buckley (Clay, One Tree Hill) and Kristoffer Polaha (Baze on LUX) come out and pretend not to have any idea who the other person was and then swear to be besties.

The main idea for Monday and Tuesday is that Monday night features “established series with dedicated fans” that will lead into Tuesday. Sure.

Wednesday will still have America’s Next Top Model at 8. No one from the show was brought out on stage for it but they emphasized that they’ve upped the grand prize. Instead of a cover of Seventeen, the winner will be featured on the cover of Italian Vogue, the biggest/most respected fashion magazine in the world. ::shrug:: At 9 will be Hellcats, which seemed to have all its main cast there, including Matt and Robbie. They basically said how excited they are and gave a shout-out to Smallville’s Tom Welling, whose production company is behind the show and he is an executive producer for the show.

Thursdays at 8 will remain as they are now, with The Vampire Diaries airing. Paul Wesley (Donnie, The O.C.), who plays Stefan on TVD, Ian Somerhalder (Damon) and Nina Dobrev (Elena) came out and the guys “feuded” on whose character is dating “Elena” as Nina faked looking uncomfortable and finished things off with a crack that it’s just like men to think they have the final say. (The real joke being that it’s the writers who have the say.) Nikita will air at 9, which, with TVD’s success, was probably the most prime spot on the schedule and shows just how strongly the network feels about Nikita. Maggie Q came out and was incredibly entertaining, mainly because she veered from the teleprompter and joked about how hot it was backstage (with all the good-looking CW stars) and how she needed to lift up her A-cup breasts, because, yes, people with A-cup breasts do exist. It was pretty funny and she was very charming. She also noted, as per the script they gave her, what an honor it is to have TVD as their lead-in.

Friday re-pairs Smallville (at 8 ) with Supernatural (at 9). Dawn stressed how good the shows did together in the past and inferred that it will happened again. Tom Welling came out and awkwardly announced that it would be Smallville’s final season, something that probably would’ve been less awkward and more significant had he not accidentally spilled it to the media yesterday. No one from Supernatural was brought out on stage.

Dawn then summed up the schedule–established programing anchoring each night with two new series destined to be hits and summed up the whole presentation, noting that the audience is unique and the network has a unique connection with it. Wherever the audience is, the network is first, she claimed. The network is offering itself through a variety of platforms and the audience is engaging with it on those varied platforms.

She called Katy Perry back out, along with–surprise, surprise–a whole slew of other stars that were backstage the whole time but not brought out during the actual presentation. (They did the red carpet, I’m sure, but again, I wasn’t over there as most people weren’t so the vast majority of us were quite surprised to see so many other stars.)

With that, everyone filed out of the theater and Meriam and I decided to go towards the red carpet area, because there was a slew of fans hanging out there, indicating that was likely where the stars would be exiting. We joined the crowd and made like fangirls (more me than Meriam, I have to say; she was calm, cool and collected!). As soon as the last star was ushered into a waiting vehicle, we were all told to disperse so I headed to the Upper East Side for work at Gossip Cop.

I’ve seen some “FAQ” being sent to me on my Twitter account that I thought would be easiest to answer for everyone here.

1. Who from our teen dramas were there?

In addition to Crawford, McCord, Buckley, Barr, Jones and Wesley, Connor Paolo (Eric, Gossip Girl), Zuzanna Szadkowski (Dorota, Gossip Girl), Tristan Wilds (Dixon, 90210), Ryan Eggold (Ryan, 90210), as well as Life Unexpected’s Ryan and Cate, aka Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek) and Shiri Appleby (Rene, Beverly Hills 90210), were also in attendance.

2. How many episodes of One Tree Hill were ordered?

This was not mentioned during the formal presentation. There was a press conference later on but I wasn’t there for that. Based on reports from mainstream sites, it appears as though nothing is 100 percent final but it is likely OTH will start with about 13 episodes with the potential for a full season of 22.

3. Will this be One Tree Hill’s last season?

This also wasn’t addressed during the formal presentation and I haven’t seen anything about it coming up during the press conference. The CW stands to gain a lot of publicity and ratings if they announce fairly on, like they’ve done with Smallville, that it is the last season. But I’m guessing they honestly don’t know yet if it will be.

4. Was Melrose Place’s cancellation discussed?

Not at the formal presentation. The presentation is designed to sell the network and its programming. They highlight strengths and successes, not weaknesses and failures. (I’m not trying to be mean about MP. The show was canceled after it’s first season. It is considered in the industry to be a failure.) It’s possible MP came up during the press conference but I don’t know for sure either way.

Some observations: The network says their viewers’ median age is 33 but I can’t help but feel that they’re actually targeting, for the most part, 15-year-olds. I mean, obviously the numbers don’t lie and “older” people are watching but that’s just the feel the shows and all the promo material gives me.

I can only assume so few cast members were there for Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill (and 90210, really) because most had prior commitments. For One Tree Hill, the short notice probably had something to do with it as well. (In contrast, when I went to the upfront in ’08, the entire casts of GG and 90210 were there–it was also 90210’s first year and Gossip Girl’s second and GG was finishing its hugely popular first season–with more than half of OTH’s cast there as well.)

It seemed to me Ostroff spent the least amount of time talking about Life Unexpected and One Tree Hill and the only real strength she pointed out for those shows were their fanbases. I seriously wonder, though, if their renewal had less to do with the shows’ merits and fan campaigns and more to do with the network’s development slate really not panning out as planned. They only picked up two of six pilots–though at least two are reportedly in contention for midseason, one being Nomads, which features Michaela McManus (Lindsay, One Tree Hill). Had there been stronger pilot results, I think it’s very likely OTH and/or LUX would’ve been canceled. In fact, it’s very possible The CW is attributing their survival so much to the fans because that’s better for them to say publicly than to admit it’s really because of the failures of their development slate. Fans of OTH and/or LUX should count their blessings.

Speaking of One Tree Hill, Jana Kramer (Alex) was not mentioned in the press release. She was upgraded to regular status in the midst of this past season, and I’ve been told she will be back next season. And yet, her name was MIA from the regular cast listing in the release and as was her plotline from the description given for One Tree Hill’s next season.

I figured Gossip Girl and 90210 would be paired together, but I expected Gossip Girl to move to Tuesdays at 9, with LUX and OTH staying on Mondays. Instead, 90210 is now on Mondays and LUX and OTH moved to Tuesdays. I also would’ve expected, however, OTH to get the 9pm slot (it feels like the more “adult” hour to me and OTH feels more “adult” to me than LUX), but I guess they rather have a strong lead-in for LUX–assuming, of course, OTH’s ratings don’t continue to drop.

The scripted speeches or banter by the stars mostly fell flat. These people are supposed to be actors. Why the short pieces weren’t memorized or why they weren’t able to read the teleprompter a bit better–or, better yet, improv–I don’t know.

That’s a wrap for this recap…but wait, there’s more!

Stay tuned for pictures and video for the event. They will be posted tonight and/or tomorrow. I also snagged three (very, very, very) brief video interviews with Szadkowski, Barr and Smith, which will be posted on Sunday.





Breaking News: One Tree Hill Renewed For 8th Season

18 05 2010

The CW has renewed One Tree Hill for an 8th season, according to Entertainment Weekly’s Michel Ausiello.

Ausiello reports The CW also renewed Life Unexpected, starring Shiri Appleby (Rene, Beverly Hills 90210) and Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek).

Ausiello says the renewals for OTH and LUX are for “at least 12 eps apiece.”

The network also reportedly ordered Nikita, featuring Melinda Clarke (Julie, The O.C.) and executive produced by McG (executive producer, The O.C.) , and Hellcats with Matt Barr (Ian “Psycho Derek” Banks, One Tree Hill; Keith van der Woodsen, Gossip Girl) and Robbie Jones (Quentin, One Tree Hill) as well as Ashley Tisdale, who once guest-starred on Beverly Hills 90210.

Per Ausiello, Melrose Place, which featured Laura Leighton (Sophie, Beverly Hills 90210) and Daphne Zuniga (Victoria, One Tree Hill), “is officially dead.”

The news is now being confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter as well as E!’s Kristin and other sources.

I have confirmed that the OTH folks do not yet know how many episodes the network will order, and Kristin reports that there is “no official word on what kind of episode orders OTH  and LUX have received, but we’re hearing they’ll split the season down the middle with 13 each.”

This presumably means Sophia Bush is out of the ABC pilot Southern Discomfort, since OTH takes priority. ABC has not yet announced whether they will order the pilot as a series or recast her role.

The CW will present their fall schedule to advertisers and the media Thursday morning in New York City. Honored to share I will be in attendance and tweeting from the event. A recap will be posted on TDW late in the day.





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.




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

14 04 2010
  • Be sure to check out The CW’s site for all the new video content this week.
  • Last night’s 90210 (1.45 million viewers) rose a small bit in the ratings compared to last week.
  • TVGuide.com has a short and somewhat spoilish video interview with Tristan Wilds (Dixon, 90210).
  • Dustin Milligan (Ethan, 90210) appears in the first webisode of Point Of No Return (or is it just called Ghostfacers? I’m confused), a Supernatural spin-off, which will launch tomorrow on The CW’s site.
  • Interview Magazine has an, um, interview with Kellan Lutz (George, 90210).
  • Gossip Cop busted a story from Star claiming Candy Spelling (wife of Aaron, mother to Tori and Randy) offered Tori Spelling (Donna, Beverly Hills 90210) $10 million to divorce her husband, Dean McDermott. As you might expect, it’s not true.
  • Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl) is working as a guest editor for Grazia, a British fashion publication, this week.
  • MTV has a short and somewhat spoilish video interview with Michelle Trachtenberg (Georgina, Gossip Girl).
  • Kristin is reporting that One Tree Hill has a “better than 50/50” chance at renewal and that it looks like OTH and Life Unexpected, starring Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek), will get 13-episode orders, though nothing is known for sure.
  • USA Today has a Save Our Shows survey, where you can pick “keep,” “drop,” or “don’t care” for shows that are on the bubble, including OTH and LUX.
  • Olivia Wilde (Alex, The O.C.) has been cast in the movie Butter.




Spoiler: The Big Tease

13 04 2010

RELEVANT QUESTIONS–DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!

‘Gossip Girl’ pushed me over the edge when Chuck and Blair broke up after he Bass sold her out to his uncle in exchange for a hotel. And now, this is posted on People.com. Is Chuck truly planning on destroying his best friend’s relationship with Serena, or could there be a twist? – Daniela
I did my best to assuage your fears, but this is all exec producer Stephanie Savage would cough up: “It’s ‘Gossip Girl’! Always expect a twist.”

Do you have any information about the fate of ‘Life Unexpected’? – SVaddicted via Twitter
With the season finale just aired, Season 2 at this point is neither unexpected nor expected. The consensus seems to be that the CW will need to choose between ‘LUX’ and ‘One Tree Hill,’ with the latter being more expensive to produce. Also figuring into the decision is how the network’s assorted pilots shake out. Cross fingers!

Credit: Fancast

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Notes:

I posted the aforementioned PEOPLE.com article a few days ago.

Life Unexpected stars Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek).

The CW is looking at six pilots (not including reality shows).





Spoiler: Ask Ausiello

1 04 2010

RELEVANT QUESTIONS–DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!

Question: It’s time for some 90210 scoop. Make it something good. —Sarah
Ausiello:
Jen returns with big news that may or may not involve a valuable (and iconic) piece of real estate.

Question: Some scoop please on the upcoming Gossip Girl indecent proposal storyline. You called it first, now please give us more. Pretty please! —Jordan
Ausiello:
The promo for next week’s episode gives away pretty much everything… except the big twist.

Question: Okay, I’ll bite: What happens immediately after the scene with Chuck at the top of the Empire State Building in the Gossip Girl finale? —Larissa
Ausiello:
Something really bad and potentially irreparable.

Question: I have to have some One Tree Hill scoop — preferably on the season finale and the show’s renewal status. —Nick
Ausiello:
I have a very strong hunch The CW will give the show a 13-episode pickup, although we’ll probably have to wait until May for an official announcement. Don’t know too much about the finale, except that it ends with an outta-nowhere cliffhanger.

Question: Is Life Unexpected coming back for a second season? I fall deeper in love with it each week. —Jill
Ausiello:
If the ratings hold steady, I think we’re looking at a 13-episode thingamajig here as well. On the scoop front, Baze finally confesses his feelings for Cate in next Monday’s road trip-themed episode. Unfortunately, the person he comes clean to is Lux.

Credit: EW.com

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Just remember the so-called “indecent proposal” storyline was done on Beverly Hills 90210 in season 6, with Valerie, David and Ginger. I also mentioned this in February when Ausiello first hinted this storyline was coming up.

This is the clearest sign we’ve gotten yet about One Tree Hill–but don’t pop the champagne bottles yet (or bash in your TV, whatever your opinion).

Life Unexpected stars Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek).





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





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

8 01 2010
  • Found this pretty cool take on recreating fashion styles as seen on Beverly Hills 90210 in the early 90s.
  • The CW sent out a press release about its schedule for the rest of the TV year: as previously reported, we’ve got One Tree Hill and Life Unexpected beginning January 18, but now we know repeats of LUX and Gossip Girl will air Wednesday nights until March. Also, as previously reported, LUX takes OTH’s spot on March 8 so new episodes of GG can air. 90210 returns with its new episodes the next night, March 9. Then on April 19, LUX is finished and we’ve got new episodes of OTH and GG through the end of the season.
  • PEOPLE.com has a poll asking whether Adam Lambert should guest-star on Gossip Girl or other shows.
  • Blake Lively (Serena, Gossip Girl) will star in Green Lantern, whose screenplay was written by Greg Berlanti (writer- producer, Dawson’s Creek).
  • Chace Crawford (Nate, Gossip Girl) will be among the presenters at the Golden Globes on January 17.
  • There are brief mentions of Gossip Girl and The O.C. in this fun interview with Josh Schwartz (creator of both).
  • You can see Rachel Bilson (Summer, The O.C.) on How I Met Your Mother this Monday.
  • Melinda Clarke (Julie, The O.C.) will appear on The Vampire Diaries, which only adds to the following…
  • How did I not know Kayla Ewell (Casey, The O.C.) was on The Vampire Diaries, which was created by Kevin Williamson (creator, Dawson’s Creek) and also stars Paul Wesley (Donnie, The O.C.)? Kellan Lutz (George, 90210) spoke very fondly of their (now long ago) relationship when I interviewed him in ’08. On The O.C., Ewell starred alongside Cam Gigandet (Volchok, The O.C), who was also in the Twilight films with Lutz and, of course, Nikki Reed (Sadie, The O.C.) and Jackson Rathbone (Justin, The O.C.). Six degrees…
  • There’s an interview with Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek) in the new issue of Soap Opera Digest.




Life Unexpected

21 12 2009

Tonight I had the opportunity to watch the first three episodes of Life Unexpected, courtesy of the The CW, which sent me an advanced copy.

The show centers around 15-year-old Lux (which is why the show was formerly known as Life UneXpected), a young girl who is seeking emancipation after spending her life being bounced around foster homes. Since she was never adopted, she needs the signature of her birth parents and sets out to find them. She does (in seemingly record time, mind you) and both are understandably shocked.  All three are then thrown for a loop when the judge, instead of granting emancipation, makes Lux’s parents temporary co-guardians.

For months critics have been raving about the show, saying it is reminsicent of The WB, where substance and heart were favored over style and shock.

They were right.

Life Unexpected has the wit of Gilmore Girls and the emotional complexity of Everwood. Less than 20 minutes into the first episode, tears were already welling up in my eyes. I was moved several times, in fact, but also giggled and chuckled a ton, too. That’s not to say there aren’t any cliches or weak points but as we know from watching the teen dramas, those are to be expected. It’s not surprising executive producer/writer Liz Tigelaar started out working for Dawson’s Creek and it seems she learned well.

Shiri Appleby (Rene, Beverly Hills 90210) stars as Lux’s mother, who is in a romantic relationship with her radio show co-host, played by Kerr Smith (Jack, Dawson’s Creek). It was hard at first to see Appleby as a mom but perhaps that is the point: her character Cate is only 32 years old, making her a teenager when she got pregnant with Lux. Smith, who has thankfully dyed the grey out of his hair, is definitely in a supporting role, one whose future on the show I question despite the press materials. He’s included as if he’s here for the long-haul but it seems to me that Cate and her babydaddy Nate, played by Kristoffer Polaha, are destined for each other in the end. It’s also worth noting that this will be the third show on The CW right now with a main character called Nate.

Lux reminded me of One Tree Hill’s Sam (Ashley Rickards), the foster child Brooke (Sophia Bush) takes in in season 6. The two characters may not look alike but their personalities are strikingly similar. Cate has shades of Brooke as well and at times the plot felt very familiar. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth watching. The three episodes held my attention throughout and I’m eager to see what other angles of this story–which easily could’ve been depicted entirely in a 2-hour movie–are explored throughout the season.

I highly encourage you to tune in on January 18, when Life Unexpected premieres after the new episode of One Tree Hill. I’m honestly worried about the ratings the show will get both that night and in the weeks to come since, as I mentioned above, this show sooooo isn’t a CW show. While I personally think that’s a good thing, other viewers may not. Here’s hoping there’s enough people out there clamoring for the days and ways of the WB.

I have to note, though, that Life Unexpected won’t be covered extensively on this site since it is not a teen drama. I will continue to include it as I have thus far: when there’s something relevant to Smith or Appleby or some other teen drama connection. But, again, I really hope you’ll watch it.








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