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


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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.




Spoiler: Watch With Kristin

29 06 2010

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

Brynn in New York City: After that 90210 finale, I need a reason to keep watching. Got anything for me?
When we return to West Beverly, Annie and Liam will be fighting those lovey-dovey feelings they’ve pretty much always had for each other. Liam’s over Naomi and all that drama-rama, but Annie’s determined to keep a clean conscience and steer clear of whatever happened between the two this summer. I’m guessing hot hookup. You?

Billie in Calif.: Anything on Gossip Girl today?
Former Melrose Place vixen Katie Cassidy is headed way across the country for her next CW gig,  joining the cast of Gossip Girl. And yes, it’s true tubers, she is taking the role Chace Crawford promised to someone very important, ahem, me! Yessir, Katie will be Nate’s new Columbia co-ed galpal. And per usual with G.G. and K.C., she’s got a lil’ sumpin’ sumpin’ up her sleeve that will wreak a little havoc on the gang. Step aside, Georgina!

Credit: E! Online





Spoiler: Mega Buzz

23 06 2010

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

Any scoop on the new season of 90210? — Ilya
MICKEY:
Dixon and Ivy’s relationship/dudeship/whatever will be seriously strained when Leo, a family friend from the U.K., comes to stay with Ivy and Laurel to do a postgraduate year at West Bev (because that happens). Everyone we talk to compares him to the protagonist of The Talented Mr. Ripley, which is definitely not a good sign.

Credit: TVGuide.com





Fun Fact

11 06 2010

(Note: “Fun Fact” probably isn’t the best title for this post but I wanted to keep it within my ongoing “teen drama facts” series, where all the posts are titled “Fun Fact.”)

Last month’s 90210 season finale, in which the episode ends with Naomi seemingly about to be raped by Mr. Cannon, got me thinking about the use and portrayal of sexual assault in the teen dramas.

Below is a listing of all the occurrences, to the best of my recollection, with the only full-fledged main character rape thus far occurring during Beverly Hills 90210’s ninth season.

Beverly Hills 90210

-In Episode 1.09, The Gentle Art of Listening, Brenda works on a “teen line,” where an anonymous girl calls in and reveals she is, essentially, being date raped by two classmates. Brenda starts piecing clues together and figures out the girl is Bonnie, a fellow student at West Beverly, and the attacks are taking place after school events. She informs the police of what’s happening and they save the girl and arrest the guys.

-In Episode 1.13, Slumber Party, Kelly reveals her first sexual encounter happened with Ross Webber, where he led her into a forest and had sex with her on the ground. As she recounts the story during a girls-only slumber party, she cries as she says, “He kept saying, ‘Come on, Kel. I know you want it. I know you want it, Kelly.’ And I did… but not on the ground. He didn’t even bring a blanket. But it was over pretty quick and after that he took me home…and never talked to me again.”

-In Episode 2.13, Halloween, the gang is at a Halloween party where Kelly goes upstairs with an older guy she meets. When she doesn’t want to hook up with him, he calls her a tease and begins to force himself on her but they are interrupted by Brenda and Donna. When Kelly cries and explains what happens, Brenda calls out for Dylan and, with Steve’s help, they drag the guy out.

-In Episode 3.11, A Presumption Of Innocence, Scott’s sister Sue accuses English teacher Gil Meyers of sexual harassment and some of the gang takes sides. Meyers reveals there was an incident at the previous school he worked at, but insists he didn’t do anything then or now. Sue eventually confesses that she actually came on to him and reveals it’s actually her uncle who has been molesting her. Gil resigns anyway.

-In Episode 4.11, Take Back The Night, a one-time hook-up, Laura, accuses Steve of date rape. He is shocked by the accusation as, according to his memory, they were both into it. Kelly tries to help Laura until she learns Steve is the guy in question. Kelly doubts Laura’s story and shortly before she’s set to “go public” at a Take Back The Night rally at CU, Kelly volunteers to speak up instead. Kelly takes the mic at the event and recounts her season 2 experience and notes that Steve was the one who saved her. Afterward, Laura admits the sex was consensual but that she said otherwise because she felt used after he wasn’t interested in seeing her again.

-In Episode 5.23, Love Hurts, much of the CU student body is concerned about a sexual predator after a co-ed is raped in the previous episode. With some help, Brandon discovers the suspect is targeting Clare. Turns out, he was targeting Clare but after meeting Donna, he set his sights on her instead. When Donna returns to her apartment one night, she notices the lights are out and is suddenly grabbed from behind by the rapist, Garrett. He bounds her hands and later proceeds to force himself on her in her bedroom but they are interrupted when they hear David enter the apartment. With Garrett threatening her, she calls out that she doesn’t feel well and insists to David that he leave. But when she calls him “Dave,” he senses something is wrong and storms into her room. Together they overpower Garrett and knock him out.

-In Episode 8.20, Cupid’s Arrow, after each having fights with their significant others, Valerie and Noah end up sleeping together. The next morning, Valerie wakes up with little recollection of the night before and feels very ill. A doctor determines she was drugged with Rohypnol, commonly known as the “date rape drug” or being “roofied,” and Valerie concludes that Noah raped her. In the subsequent episodes, when the District Attorney declines to press charges, she files a civil suit. After a heated trial, the jury rules in Valerie’s favor and awards her a large sum of money. Donna, however, soon discovers that it was Noah’s brother Josh (played by Michael Trucco, aka One Tree Hill’s Uncle Cooper) who actually drugged Valerie’s drink and, due to being distracted by a phone call, was unable to stop Valerie from leaving with Noah instead of him.

-In Episode 9.25, Dog’s Best Friend, Kelly is called by Dylan, who is fearful he will relapse if someone doesn’t come talk to him. They pick a meeting spot and Kelly parks nearby. As she walks the dark, abandoned street alone, she hears footsteps behind her. As she speeds up, so does the other person. Said person eventually grabs her and throws her into an alley where he hits her, threatens her with a knife, rips off her clothing and rapes her. Coincidentally, the actor who plays the rapist had two other roles on the show, including an appearance in the season 2 episode mentioned above where Kelly is almost raped.

Dawson’s Creek

-In Episode 3.06, Secrets and Lies, Andie is dating Rob, an older guy whom Joey worked with until his (mostly non-physical) sexual harassment becomes too much for her to take. One night, a tearful Andie calls Joey (skip to 3:05), asking for help. Joey and Pacey find her, wanting to know what happened. Andie reveals she and Rob were hooking up and he started to take things too far. Pacey, Andie’s ex, angrily confronts Rob, who denies anything happened at all. Joey urges Andie to go to the police but she’s reluctant. Pacey comforts her and they reflect on their relationship. They share a kiss, which Pacey later calls a mistake. Joey speaks with Rob, who is still denying he did anything to Andie, and Andie gets upset with Joey for not believing her. Later, Andie essentially admits she made the story up, without explicitly saying it, noting she will do anything to get Pacey back.

-In Episode 6.04, Instant Karma!, Audrey is upset about her relationship with Pacey and heads to a party with Jen and Jack to blow off some steam. She drowns her sorrows in alcohol and ends up being led upstairs by a guy (skip to 4:55). Jen tries to follow but a different guy won’t let her pass. C.J. pushes past and they head upstairs. They find Audrey in one of the bedrooms and Jen leads her out as C.J. pushes the guy away.

The O.C.

-In Episode 2.21, The Return Of The Nana, while Ryan is out of town, Marissa takes it upon herself to entertain his brother, Trey. While drunk and high, Trey comes on to Marissa at the beach. When she resists, a struggle ensues. She eventually breaks free and runs off.

One Tree Hill

-In Episode 1.08, The Search For Something More, when Brooke and Peyton head to a college party, Peyton retreats into a dorm room with one of the co-eds. They bond over music and he offers her a drink…one that he roofied. She is nearly passed out when he starts to put the moves on her but Brooke senses something is up and is able to rescue her. She calls Lucas, who arrives and confronts the guy about drugging Peyton before bringing her home with Brooke and taking care of her.

Gossip Girl

-In Episode 1.01, Pilot, at the Kiss On The Lips party, Chuck leads Jenny up to the roof and starts to kiss her (skip to 5.50). She’s not into it and slyly texts Dan as Chuck pours them champagne. Cut to Chuck forcibly making out with her as Dan and Serena find them. Chuck abruptly stops as Jenny runs into Dan’s arms. Dan punches Chuck, Serena pushes him and they lead Jenny away. This event is one reason why some people are bothered by Chuck and Jenny’s consensual sex in last month’s season finale.

-In Episode 2.16, You’ve Got Yale, a vengeful and greedy Jack confronts Lily (skip to 1:24), who has teamed up with Chuck to retain control of Bass Industries. Chuck enters as Jack is forcing himself on her and he gets Jack off of her. Lily is shaken, Chuck is pissed and Jack is further exposed as the villain he really is.

90210

-In Episode 2.22, Confessions, Naomi’s car won’t start, so she heads into West Beverly for help. She finds Mr. Cannon, whom earlier in the season, she accused of sexually harassing her after he accused her of offering to sleep with him in order to earn her spot back on the Blaze staff. They talk for a bit about different things, including Naomi’s false accusation. He later takes her hand and kisses her. She pushes him away, but he says he knows she wanted him to do it and she doesn’t need to feel guilty. He tells her to stop teasing and that she has a harassment fantasy and is trying to provoke him. She is appalled and pushes him away, leading him to slap her and grab her. She threatens that she will tell and he asks who she would tell because she is “the girl who cried wolf.” Coincidentally, that was the name of one of the episodes in Beverly Hills 90210’s eighth season, during the aforementioned rape storyline with Valerie and Noah.

Thoughts?





Spoiler: Ask Ausiello

22 04 2010

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

Question: I’m so desperate for a scoop on One Tree Hill. Please help me. —Anna
Ausiello:
The CW soap returns Monday with an episode that features blackmail, a marriage proposal, a pregnancy test, and um…er….one other thing I’m forgetting.

Question: Does a character from Gossip Girl occupy one of the 18 confirmed or seven possible fatalities on your lovely May Sweeps Scorecard? —Christopher
Ausiello:
Yes, there is a space reserved for an Upper East Sider in one of those two categories.

Question: What do I have to bribe you with to get some amazing 90210 finale scoop? —Ken
Ausiello:
A dozen of these delivered to my office by week’s end. Do that and I’ll tell you who [bleep] [bleep] at West Beverly.

Credit: EW.com





Exclusive: Executive Producer Charles Rosin Reflects on 90210’s Early Years

4 10 2009

Today is a huge milestone in the world of teen dramas.  It is the 19th anniversary of the premiere of Beverly Hills 90210, the show that started it all.

In honor of this momentous occasion, 90210 executive producer Charles Rosin, who now runs showbizzle,  revisited the show’s early years and development thereafter.

TeenDramaWhore: What was your reaction when Aaron Spelling contacted you to be part of this show, then-called Class of Beverly Hills?

Charles Rosin: Curiosity.  Mr. Spelling was a legend in this business whose deal with ABC had ended and who was struggling to re-invent himself and his company for a new generation of TV watchers.  Truthfully, I was not a big fan of his most  popular shows –“Dynasty,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Love Boat”  — which all seemed very old fashioned and predictable.  My taste was much more oriented to a more challenging and thought provoking television like “St.Elsewhere,” ” thirtysomething,” and “Northern Exposure,” of which I was the supervising producer for the first season and was working on when I first met “The Mister” in his office at the Warner Hollywood Studios.

TDW: As an executive producer, what exactly was your role?  How were you involved in the episode process?

Rosin: In the TV business, a creative executive producer is known as a showrunner, who literally runs all the creative aspects of a show while being responsible for its financial vitality. On 90210 I would either come up with the ideas, or approve ideas brought to me; make sure my partners (The Spelling Company and Fox) approved of these ideas; supervise my staff in writing the story and scripts (or write the stories or scripts myself) based on these ideas; re-write scenes, etc. in my capacity as “the last typewriter” if I felt the material needed punching up; incorporate legal clearances and network notes into the scripts; have a concept meeting with the directors (who I hired); cast the actors for that week’s show; supervise a production meeting with all the department heads (wardrobe, art. etc);  be available during production to deal with whatever situations might occur; work with the editors to cut the film which might require dropping scenes, changing the act breaks, changing the order of the story, etc.;  then get notes from my partners; then work with my associate producer in getting the locked film ready for airing by adding music, sound effects, correct color, dub voices — and then being the final “ear” when the show is mixed….all while developing three-five scripts simultaneously and prepping for the next episode in line to shoot.

TDW: 90210 essentially started the primetime teen drama genre.  What kind of challenges were you up against?

Rosin: Fox was all about edgy/raunchy guy-humor like “Married With Children” while 90210 was a show that not only celebrated girl-empowerment but had this wonderful character named Brenda Walsh [Shannen Doherty] who represented the notion that a teenager could be sexually active and not be a slut, but actually a role model. Unfortunately, my first set of network executives did not see the world as I did . Someday I will write a long article about the censorship that occurred after Brenda lost her virginity at the Spring Dance [ed. note: Episode 1.21, Spring Dance] to her boyfriend (who had been AIDS tested) because she was happy and not full of remorse.

TDW: When do you think 90210 crossed over that ‘initial hump’ and started achieving success?

Rosin: When the Gulf War started in February, 1991 the three networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS) suspended all commercial activity to cover the invasion. Fox didn’t have a news department back than (hard to believe; wish they didn’t have one now. ha!) so Fox broadcast whatever was on their schedule. The 90210 episodes that aired during this time included “BYOB” and “Slumber Party” [ed. note: Episodes 1.11 and 1.13].  By the time commercial activity started up again some three weeks later with the re-activation of the Nielsen ratings, our show was no longer a bottom feeder. The network took notice; gave us an extended order for season two with the understanding that we would be producing summer episodes — and we were off.

TDW: In an interview last year with The New York Times, you said you went to Beverly Hills High.  How did it compare to the fictional West Beverly?

Rosin: I graduated Beverly Hills High School in 1970 which makes me a child of the 60’s! Even though it was a time of political activism and emerging youth culture,  there were many traditions from the 1950’s that were a vital part of my high school culture — and which ultimately were incorporated into the series.  We meet Emily Valentine [Christine Elise, ed. note: see related interview] in season two at “Hello Day” where each class welcomes new students through parodies and funny skits [ed. note: Episode 2.8, Wildfire]. The dance where the cheerleader is date raped by a football player in “Teenline” in season one was called The Pigskin Prom, which was a big thang back in the day [ed. note: Episode 1.9, The Gentle Art of Listening].  And, of course, episodes in the third year season dealing with ditch day and the senior yearbook poll all were part of school life at BHHS [ed. note: Episodes 3.26 and 3.25 respectively, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window and Senior Poll]. Oddly enough,  I played baseball for Beverly against Torrance High School, which was our location for “West Beverly” and which later became the high school location for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”  [ed. note: click here for photos of Torrance/West Bev] One other odd connection — we filmed our summer episodes at the same beach in Santa Monica Bay where the kids from Beverly Hills High School used to hang out — which was known as Tee’s, not the Beverly Hills Beach Club which was filmed at the old Sand and Sea Club right after it got condemned.

TDW: Let’s talk about the episode where Scott [Douglas Emerson] kills himself (Episode 2.14, The New Fifty Years). Was that a product of Douglas wanting to leave the show or was it precipitated by the direction of the storylines? Was there backlash to that episode?

Rosin: Given our low license fee from the network, we were always trying to cut costs — and Doug Emerson was a nice young man, but not a gifted actor. I still wanted to find a memorable way to write him off the show — and that was when I read about an accidental killing of a high school student on Prom Night in a hotel room at the Disneyland Hotel.  So while David Silver [Brian Austin Green] was getting cool and into the Brenda/Kelly/Steve Beach Club crowd, I sent Scott to hang at his grandparents house in Oklahoma off-camera for six episodes as a way to show these two old friends drifting apart before our eyes. It should be known that this was the only story line that the network and Mr. Spelling worked together to try to squash — but they could sense my passion for the story, were very supportive of [our] script and were very satisfied with the episode, which also was highly promotable and did well in the ratings.

TDW: You were there during the high school to college transition, which all the teen dramas are doing these days.  What do you think that change added to the show?

Rosin: Not only was I “there” for the transition from high school to college, but I must take credit — along with my late producing partner, Paul Waigner — for spearheading the drive to move on and let these kids grow up. Part of the problem was that our cast looked to old/were too old to play believable high school students anymore — and I convinced network president Sandy Grushow that doing a high school show that did not deal with the prospect of college was bogus. Aaron was nervous about the change, of course. He was nervous about everything.  But once I agreed to let all the kids go to the same college, he let them graduate — which allowed me to write a senior year in “real time”. You ask what this added to the show? How ’bout four-five seasons worth of new episodes that would probably wouldn’t have been ordered if they stayed in high school.

TDW: Your wife also worked on the show, right?

Rosin: Karen’s first professional writing credit was for “Isn’t It Romantic?,” the AIDS episode where Brenda and Dylan [Luke Perry] first go out — and where an enraged Dylan slams the flower pot into the pavement before chasing after Brenda [ed. note: Episode 1.10].  Although Karen was never offered a staff position, chances are she wrote, or co-wrote your favorite episodes, including all the ones set in Paris [ed. note: Episodes 3.3-3.5], the condom in school episode [Episode 2.21, Everybody’s Talkin’ ‘Bout It ], the one where Scott  accidentally shoots himself, the one where Dylan meets his inner-child [Episode 3.22, The Child Is Father To The Man], the Christmas episode with the angels answer Donna’s [Tori Spelling] prayers by preventing a school bus from crashing bus [Episode 3.16, It’s A Totally Happening Life], and the graduation episode [Episode 3.29, Commencement], which we wrote together. You can hear our commentary for “Commencement” on the third season DVD. Karen,  a former actress and playwright,  has a great ear for dialogue. My strength as a writer was (and is) always story and story structure — so we were great collaborators. If Mr. Spelling and I had anything in common it was our love and appreciation of nepotism.

TDW: Your daughter is just a bit older than me.  Did she watch the show growing up?  What does she think knowing her parents played a big role in one of the biggest shows of the 90s?

Rosin: My eldest daughter Lindsey was five when I started working on the 90210. She’s the cutie-pie who asks Brandon to dance the hookelau at the end of summer luau at the Beverly Hills Beach Club [ed. note: Episode 2.6, Pass/Not Pass]. Growing up she never bragged about my job, in fact, didn’t tell her teen-aged camp counselors about me until the last day of the session. Lindsey knew at a young age she wanted to be a director, and is currently developing an hour pilot with CBS Paramount — in addition to be the creative force behind showbizzle.

TDW: You have said you left the show because it was “killing” you.  Can you elaborate on that?

Rosin: For the first two seasons, Beverly Hills 90210 had the lowest license fee in broadcast television — meaning that Fox paid the Spelling Company less money to make our show than any other show in prime time.  One of the ways we cut costs was to assemble a small writing staff composed of mostly new writers,  but once our production orders increased to anywhere from 28- 32 hours a year (a standard network order for a hit show is anywhere from 13-22 episodes a year; a cable show much less than that) the lack of a big staff took its toll and I found myself working 12-16 hours a day, 6 1/2 days a week, 11 1/2 months a year.  Six weeks after I mixed my last episode, “P.S. I Love You” [ed note: Episode 5.32], one of my arteries shut down. I was 43 years old.  We caught it early. I dodged a bullet. And 15 years later, I catch waves and feel great.

TDW: Did you keep up with the show after you left?

Rosin: I was a non-exclusive script consultant for the 6th season where I read outlines and offered my suggestions — most of which weren’t followed.  I do remember watching one episode that year where NFL star quarterback Steve Young was a guest star [ed. note: Episode 6.12, Breast Side Up] because it was written by Larry Mollin and directed by Dave Semel, who both remain good friends today.   I did not watch after that — and felt that show lost much of its cultural currency and degenerated into a more pedestrian and predictable soap opera– the kind of show more aligned with the traditional Spelling aesthetic.

TDW: Your last season–the fifth–was also Carol Potter’s last.  Did you agree with the decision to get rid of Jim [James Eckhouse] and Cindy?  (Ed. note: see my related interview here.)

Rosin: Reluctantly, yes. Creatively, the show no longer evolved around the Walsh House — and although we certainly could have come up with new storylines that included the parents in a supporting capacity, both Carol Potter and Jim Eckhouse were taking home a fairly big pay check — and by writing them off the show, those monies could be applied to other things — like paying Jason Priestley [Brandon] and Jennie Garth [Kelly] to stick around.

TDW: I have to ask:  Brenda and Dylan or Kelly and Dylan?

Rosin: Brenda was our favorite character to write; the scene where Dylan and Kelly hook up the night Jack McKay was released at the pool at the Bel Age in season three [ed. note: Episode 3.19,  Back in the High Life Again] was perhaps the hottest scene we ever shot — in other words, it’s a draw…

TDW: Kelly and Dylan or Kelly and Brandon?

Rosin: I’ll always be partial to Kelly and Steve.

TDW: What was your reaction when you found out the season 10 storyline (Episodes 10.18-10.20) that Jack McKay (Josh Taylor) was alive?

Rosin: Well, I first found out about Jack McKay when I opened your e-mail. (Like I said, I didn’t watch the show once I left). But we purposely filmed the sequence in such a way as to leave this “return from the dead” storyline available. I guess they had to wait until Luke Perry returned to the series to revive this plot.

TDW: What was your reaction when you found out David and Donna were marrying in the series finale?

Rosin: It seemed about right; Karen and I and our three kids visited the set at the Beverly Hilton the day they were filming the wedding — and it was the first time I visited since I left the show five years earlier.

TDW: Do you have a favorite storyline?

Rosin: Lots of them — my favorite episode was Commencement because with all the clips that were incorporated into the two hour episode, it felt like a retrospective of the high school years.

TDW: Do you have a favorite memory from working with the cast? A favorite guest star? (There were a lot of them!)

Rosin: I loved watching Jason directing the episode “The Time Has Come Today” from the 4th Season [ed. note: Episode 4.25] where Brenda discovers a diary from the 1960’s in her bedroom. My favorite guest star would be my wife Karen, who played a lesbian in the episode “Girls On The Side,” [Episode 5.28] which she also wrote. Also Marcy Kaplan, who played TV star Lydia Leeds in the episode in which Brenda worked at the Peach Pit and became Laverne [Episode 1.16, Fame is where You Find It]. Karen and I wrote that one together.

TDW: What surprised you most while working on the show?

Rosin: Like most writers I have an active imagination — and there have been times that I thought that the script I had just written would catapult me onto a podium for an awards ceremony. But I never could have imagined being a creative force behind an international television sensation! Or that you would be asking me these questions almost 20 years from the time that I started work on the show…

TDW: Do you have any regrets or anything you would do differently?

Rosin: Biggest regret is that I didn’t establish a relationship with media executive (and visionary) Barry Diller when he was running Fox. As far as doing things differently, I would have tried to take better care of my health, and maintain a sense of humor when dealing with the network instead of getting caught up in a war zone.

TDW: Looking back on the show today, what do you think is its place in television history?

Rosin: A footnote.

TDW: Are you still in touch with any of the cast?

Rosin: Yes — Jason Priestley is a buddy. James Eckhouse too. And Ian Ziering [Steve] is a great guy with whom I recently chatted about his early years in the business which we posted on Inside The Bizzle at showbizzle. Check it out. It is a must see for 90210 fans. [Ed. note: I linked to one of the Ian interviews here but there are many more here, including ones with BH90210 producer-writer John Eisendrath]

TDW: Have you watched the new 90210? Do you have any thoughts on it?

Rosin: I watched it once. It’s a good looking cast. But to do a show called 90210 and not allow your young characters to have any socio-political context in the age of Obama speaks to the cynicism and cowardice of commercial broadcasting.

TDW: You also worked on Dawson’s Creek a bit. How did your role differ there?

Rosin: I was more involved with the business side of producing than the writing of scripts — though I certainly had a hand in the creative development of the first episodes.

TDW: How do you think the shows themselves differ?

Rosin: I leave that for your community of readers to comment.

TDW: You’re now working on a site called showbizzle. What is it, and how did it come about?

Rosin: showbizzle is a digital showcase and destination website I created with daughter Lindsey (the Hookelau girl) for emerging talent away from the immediate pressures of the market place. We created a cool show featuring 29 young actors performing 141 two-minute scripted monologues about what they are doing to jump start their careers in Hollywood as told to Janey, a fictitious blogger who hangs out at an LA coffee house. Our goal here to create a vibrant community of young actors, writers, comedians, and performers around our showbizzle content where members are encouraged to upload their original videos with the chance to be paid $$ to perform on our digital showcase. So check showbizzle.com, become a member, work with us, tell your friends — and see why Cynopsis Digital said that it “should be required viewing for kids thinking of moving out to LA LA land to chase their dreams of stardom as it delves into the frustrations of being on the outside looking in.”

TDW: Anything else you want to add?

Rosin: Hard to believe the show’s 20th anniversary is coming up . To get to know what the early days were like check out Rolling Stone Magazine’s article “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (issue 624) originally published February 20th, 1992.

For more on showbizzle, head over to the site.

Come back next Sunday for another exclusive interview!

TDW Interview Index








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