The new 90210 series has been generating a significant amount of buzz — more than just about any other new Fall show. Unfortunately, there seems to be far more interest in possible appearances by original Beverly Hills, 90210 castmembers than in the new show’s regular cast.
Executive producer Gabe Sachs says, “We see this as a totally fun thing… It’s not the same show, but we get to have the element of such a cool, big hit. It’s an honor to do it or to be able to do it. We’d love to have anyone from the old cast that would like to be on it.”
Who’s going to be involved from the original 90210 series? Who says that they’re not interested? Here’s where we stand so far…
Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) – Garth has been signed to a recurring role on the series. Initially, Kelly was going to be a West Beverly High fashion design teacher but that’s been changed to a guidance counselor. As a story device, this would seem to be a more natural way to involve Garth in episodes as needed. Apparently, Kelly grew up next door to Harry Wilson (Rob Estes) — the head of the series’ core family — so she’ll have an extra connection to the Wilson kids right off the bat. (The family’s last name used to be “Mills” in the original script.)
It’s rumored that Kelly is a single mom with a four-year-old son at home. There’s no word as to who the boy’s father might be (Brandon? Dylan?) but Kelly will end up dating the school’s young lacrosse coach, Ryan Matthews (Ryan Eggold). Garth will appear in the pilot and other episodes throughout the season.
Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) — Shocking as it may seem, Doherty will be returning to the zip-code that first gave her a diva reputation. As you may recall, Brenda was last seen in season four of the original series before leaving home to study in London. Well, apparently Brenda became a successful theater actress and has transitioned to directing. She’ll return to her alma mater as a special guest director for the school’s musical production. While there, she’ll find herself in competition with old friend Kelly for the affections of teacher Ryan Matthews. Doherty will appear in multiple episodes.
Though Doherty and Garth supposedly don’t get along, Sachs doesn’t foresee any problems. He said, “There isn’t any tension. No one’s been on the set yet but I think they’ll be okay.” Prior to Doherty being cast, Garth said, “A lot of time has passed, and I’m a big girl. I’d have no problem with her coming on the show.”
Donna Martin Silver (Tori Spelling) — Spelling was supposed to appear in the pilot but bowed out because of the timing of her giving birth via C-section. It looked like she was going to appear in later episodes with Donna owning an upscale boutique or her own fashion line. It’s rumored that Spelling had asked producers to find a role for her husband, actor Dean McDermott, as well.
Now it seems that Spelling won’t be part of the new show. Recent reports say that Spelling is upset that she’s being offered a lower per-episode rate than Garth and Doherty. Garth has said that she hopes something can be worked out while a CW spokesman said, “The CW has no deal with Tori Spelling to appear on 90210 at this time.” Given the interest of all involved parties, many expect that a deal will be worked out at some point.
Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley) — Priestley was apparently approached about reprising his role but declined — at least as a performer. He’s happy that the series is being remade but says, “I think I sort of ran the gamut with Brandon… 249 episodes… I think Brandon did his time.” However, Priestley is interested in stepping in behind the camera. “They’re talking to my people about seeing if they can slot me in over there… I directed more episodes of [the original] 90210 than anybody. I directed 18 episodes.”
Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering) — The former Dancing with the Stars contestant apparently has no interest in returning to his former zip-code. He recently said, “It’s not really where my career goals are focused right now… I’m really looking down the line pretty far and this might be a step backwards.” He wishes the new cast well though, saying, “I think that it’s fantastic they’re trying to recapture some of the excitement that 90210 brought to a decade.”
Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) — The actor was recently seen in a Hallmark western and doesn’t have any interest in reprising his role. He told TV Guide, “I don’t mean anything bad about it but, creatively, it’s something that I’ve done before and I don’t know I would benefit from going back and doing it again.” He went on to say that he thinks there’s a significant difference between the CW doing a revamp of the show and if producer Aaron Spelling had done it before he died. “It wouldn’t have worked the first time without Aaron and, I couldn’t do it without Aaron.”
David Silver (Brian Austin Green) — Though his 90210 wife (Spelling) was slated to appear and there’s a new character with apparent family links to David, Green isn’t interest in appearing on the new show. The actor’s been signed to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX and told UsMagazine, “They (the producers) haven’t approached me personally. I wish them the best. I hope it’s a hit.”
Andrea Zuckerman Vasquez (Gabrielle Carteris) — The actress is currently suing producers of a TV movie she was making two years ago. Apparently a choking-at-knifepoint scene got out of hand and Carteris was injured, leaving her face partially paralyzed for months. Though there’s been no mention of Carteris making an appearance on the new show, Andrea’s offspring, Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez, is a minor character so if the show lasts it seems pretty certain Hannah’s parents will be making an appearance at some point.
Valerie Malone (Tiffani Thiessen) — The actress says that she and her husband, actor-artist Brady Smith, are hoping to have a baby in the next year and she has no interest in returning to the fictional Beverly Hills. She tells People, “I wish them all the best, but it’s not something I will be a part of.”
Nat Bussichio (Joe E. Tata) — The Peach Pit will return but has been transformed from a diner to a cool coffeehouse that the characters will frequent. There’s also still an attached “After Dark” nightclub that’s now simply called “Pit.” Tata will return as Nat in the pilot as well as scattered subsequent episodes.
Jackie Taylor (Ann Gillespie) — If you recall your 90210 history, Kelly’s mom Jackie married David Silver’s father Mel. Before the two divorced, they had a baby named Erin. One of the new 90210 characters is named Erin Silver (formerly Daphne). The series’ initial script indicated that her parents have been off on a cruise for so long that many suspect that they’ve been killed by “Silver” and her sibling Max. Gillespie will appear in at least the third episode.
The remake premieres on September 2nd. The ailing CW network certainly needs a hit and is hoping that this sequel series will put it on the map, just like the original did for the then-fledgling FOX network.
All eyes will be on the ratings as it’s been rumored that the fate of the network and the job of CW head Dawn Ostroff essentially rest on the success of the new series. Is 90210 up to the challenge? Stay tuned!