90210 drama starts early

by Paul William Tenny

Beverly Hills 90210Let this be an abject lesson for any studio executive thinking about bringing back an old, stinky TV show rather than plowing money into brave new worlds and original content: egos in Hollywood increase proportionally to time spent breathing, or without the snark roughly doubling every season a show isn't axed.

Asking old stars back for a revival is begging for more behind-the-scenes drama than you could ever write for the air, perhaps the better idea here would have been to bring back 90210 has a reality show so at least we could see the really interesting things going on like money fights and those shared, sorrowful looks that say "shoot me. In the face. Now."
On the other hand there isn't really a network out there besides maybe The CW -- which isn't a real network anyway, kind of like Canada isn't a real country -- that hasn't already tried remaking, reenvisioning, or simply restarting a previous hit. In the case of NBC and Bionic Woman, I think that was more a case of old people feeling nostalgic for what was on TV when they were kids.

Sorry about the Canada joke.

At least NBC had the good sense not to dig up some Hollywood fossils for that devious experiment in how far back the audience could roll their eyes in their head before experiencing severe, permanent damage. We're not so lucky this time, as I fear the new goal is to see how little originality the network can put on the air before we simply turn off the TV and go outside for a while, if the resurgence of Beverley Hills 90210 is any indication.

Choose your experiments carefully and if at all possible, try not to piss off the "talent" before your second chance at glory even hits the airwaves:

I'm told a contract controversy is preventing Tori Spelling from joining that so-called "edgy, contemporary spin-off" of the '90s hit 90210 on the network this fall as planned. Insiders tell me that Tori was hired to reprise her role as fashion boutique owner Donna Martin for just "$10,000-$20,000" per episode. But then Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty were signed for "$35,000-$50,000" a show.

I'm not sure what's more amusing, that Tori Spelling, daughter of the obscenely rich and recently deceased Aaron Spelling, is complaining about "only" making $10-20k per episode -- close to a half million per season at $20k per -- or that The CW thinks so highly of the spin-off and its talent that at least some of the actors seem to be perilously close to making the SAG minimum. Before you stop to think about it, let me think for you by giving you some perspective: Charlie Sheen is making $850k per episode doing "Two And A Half Men", tops in the industry, while Rob Lowe was only making $70k per episode initially on The West Wing.

It's crazy either way when most Americans are struggling to make $30k per year, and I'm pretty sure they don't get half the year off between seasons.

It's even crazier to think that Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty who basically had nothing else better to do than crawl back to the show that made them famous are collectively worth $2.4 million per year for a show that nobody is going to watch, while potentially great original series are sitting on somebodies desk because they can't get their script read or because studio suits don't have any balls. The CW would rather dump money on this gang instead of trying to find the next Lost or Heroes.

So yeah, I'd rather watch 90210 as a reality show where has-beens fight and are ugly to each other while they ruminate about how they could have been a contender -- like The Two Coreys. Can we see that instead?
in Television


Related posts:

1 Comment

Leave a comment

View more stories by visiting the archives.

Media Pundit categories