Well, as I mentioned a few posts ago, I wasn’t around for any of The CW’s panels after their “90210” presentation…which, as it happens, was their very first panel. Fortunately, however, the beauty of being a member of the TCA is that I can still provide you with highlights from the panels I missed. God bless transcripts, that’s what I say…

Even before we offer up the “90210” coverage, however, let’s take a gander the info that emerged from the executive session hosted by the President of Entertainment at The CW, Ms. Dawn Ostroff.

* Like last year, The CW brought us details of a new reality show. This time, however, it’s not as underwhelming a pitch as “Crowned” or “Farmer Wants A Wife.” Not that I didn’t end up watching those shows, but “13 – Fear is Real” is one that I actually want to watch, since it’s executive-produced by Sam Raimi and Jay Bienstock. “The best way to describe this show is ‘The Blair Witch Project’ as a reality show,” said Ostroff. “It’s a competition show, but there’s certainly a lot of tension, a lot of fear, and it’s different. There’s an environment that they created in the bayou of Louisiana where, of course, they know it’s a reality show, but the intensity of the situation that they’re living in and the kinds of challenges that they’re faced with really feel real to them while they’re in it. This is hot off of the editing bay…this week, as a matter of fact…and it was shocking to see how invested these contestants were. I mean, they really felt the horror.”

* There wasn’t much “Reaper” news, unfortunately, except that it definitely has a place on the schedule in mid-season. “It’s a great show for us to have in our arsenal,” said Ostroff. “It’s a show that we believe in, which is why we picked it up.” Yeah, but let’s call a spade a spade: they only believed in it enough to pick it up as a mid-season replacement, not for a full season. We can only hope that, come mid-season, the show’s fanbase has built up enough steam to keep it rolling for a third year.

* There is currently no plan for another season of “Beauty and the Geek.” There is also no formal word of cancellation, however.

* And I’ve saved this bit for last because, frankly, I don’t want to believe it, but…ugh…Ostroff claims to have been happy with the time-jump on “One Tree Hill.” “Our expectations were we would do something different that felt, certainly, in line with the show, because the actors had gotten older,” Ostroff said, “and they were excited about the idea of playing characters closer to their real age. We know that when characters often go into college years on a show, it’s sort of hard to keep them together, and the storylines aren’t quite as relatable, so the idea of jumping the show four years forward, having the characters outside of college, in the working world, being young adults, just felt like the time was right. We knew we would have interesting storylines for each of the characters, and Mark Schwahn is just a really good writer. He took all of these characters and put them into young adulthood, created new arcs, new situations, and the show had a renaissance. I mean, it was a great idea, and it really did pay off for us.”

Pft. The results still felt trite to me, and I’m not backing down on this.

Okay, now we move on to…


As we already revealed a few days ago, Shannen Doherty will be returning to Southern California’s most famous zip code as Brenda Walsh for a few episodes. So will Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, and even Joe E. Tata. But what else is going on in Beverly Hills these days?

Well, before we answer that, let’s figure out exactly what this show is.

“It is a complete original invention,” said producer Jeff Judah. “There will be, though, somewhat of an homage to the original show. We just finished shooting the pilot about a day ago, (but) to set it up a little bit for everybody, it’s about a family moving from Kansas back to Beverly Hills. Rob Estes’ character actually grew up in Beverly Hills. He was the next-door neighbor to one of our previous characters. They moved back and it’s how they handle this new world. We’ll be using people from the previous show in the new one, and they will organically work with our characters.” (There will not, however, be any reference to the coincidence that this rather closely mirrors the Walsh family moving from Minneapolis to Beverly Hills.)

This series will be different from the original in several ways. For one, says Judah, “we think this generation of parenting is different than the ones we grew up with. We, as parents, did almost everything that our kids are doing. Our parents didn’t do that. It’s a lot harder to lie to us. We know what they’re doing, and they can’t get away with stuff that they think they are because we did it 20 years ago. Nice try.” Also interesting, however, is the assurance from Judah and his production collaborator, Gabe Sachs, that the series will contain some of the same quirky comedy that was such a hallmark of their earlier series, “Freaks and Geeks.” (That alone is enough to capture my attention.)

Tristan Miles, late of “The Wire,” is playing a character named Michael, who he swears isn’t nearly as dissimilar from his previous character, Dixon, as you might think. “They both grew up in bad environments and they both had to grow up by themselves very quickly,” said Miles. “From Dixon, moving from group home to group home and Michael, living with a drug addict mother and raising his little brother, it’s similar to an extent that they both had to teach themselves how to grow, how to live by themselves.”

Jessica Walter, however, confirms that there’s at least one significant difference between Lucille Bluth, from “Arrested Development,” and her “90210” character, Tabitha: “Lucille liked vodka, and Tabitha likes scotch.” But, seriously, folks, Walter explained that “Harry and Debbie and family come back to Tabitha’s Beverly Hills mansion is to take care of me, because I have been drinking. I’m now on the wagon. I promised them I’m going to try…and that’s something Lucille never really tried!”

If you’re looking for more specifics about how Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling are returning, Judah assured us that “Jennie’s character has been brought back into the show in an organic way, so when you see the pilot, you’ll see how she’s brought in. It fits naturally.” No further info about Tori, except that both her role and Jennie’s are more than cameos. As far as how the Peach Pit has evolved over the years, Judah says, “It’s a cool coffeehouse now where a lot of kids hang out, but it’s not going to be like the old show where it’s, like, ‘Hey, it’s Color Me Badd! What are you guys doing here?’ It’s more of like a cool coffeehouse, but there will be a music extension. There will be a Pit upstairs, which is actually a real music place.”

I gotta tell ya, I’m psyched for this. I wasn’t even a huge fan of the original series, but the team of Judah and Sachs has me thinking that this might actually be worth watching…or, at the very least, it should be worth investigating for a few episodes before deciding if I’m going to keep watching. Plus, it’s something I know myself and my wife want to check out, and I just can’t underestimate a show that appeals to both of us.

Privileged: Well, since I wasn’t at the panel, let’s go to the official press release from The CW to find out what the show’s about, shall we?

“Twenty-three-year-old Megan Smith (JoAnna Garcia, ‘Reba’) has a Yale education, a relentlessly positive attitude and a plan to conquer the world of journalism, despite the fact that she is currently slaving away at a tabloid rag. Megan’s plan is thrown off course when, in one whirlwind day, she gets fired, meets cosmetics mogul Laurel Limoges (Anne Archer, ‘Fatal Attraction’), and becomes the live-in tutor for Laurel’s twin teen granddaughters in the heady Palm Beach world of wealth and power. The girls, Rose (Lucy Kate Hale, ‘Bionic Woman’) and Sage (Ashley Newbrough, ‘The Best Years’), are beautiful, rebellious and less-than-thrilled with their new tutor, but Megan is determined to win them over as she enjoys the perks of her new job ─ breathtaking private suite, gorgeous car and live-in chef Marco Giordani (Allan Louis, ‘Stomp the Yard’). Even the neighbors are fabulous in Palm Beach, and Megan quickly catches the eye of Will Davis (Brian Hallisay, ‘Bones’), the wealthy and extremely hot dilettante who lives on the estate next door and just happens to be dating Megan’s estranged sister Lily (Kristina Apgar, ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’). Completing this romantic quadrangle is Megan’s best friend Charlie (Michael Cassidy, ‘Smallville’), who is secretly in love with her. Despite her own complicated romantic and family relationships, Megan is committed to making a difference in the lives of her two headstrong students as she navigates the treacherous waters of high society in Palm Beach.”

Not unlike “90210,” what has me interested in this show is its executive producer: Rita Mimoun, who not only worked on “Gilmore Girls” but also actively admits that this show resembles that one. “It’s very much, ‘What if the Gilmore girls were teaching the Gossip Girls?’ That’s how I sort of like to blend the two. What I loved about ‘Gilmore Girls’ was the tone and the upbeat, and there was this tremendous sense of heart and this fantastic mother-daughter relationship that I think made it very accessible, not just for the teenagers, but for families to watch it together. And I think that’s really what we’re sort of hoping to do on this show, is kind of tap into that vein again and play up all of the fun that they get to have on ‘Gossip Girl’ with the sort of money and privilege and wealth, but coming at it from a different perspective, using Megan as our Lorelai, if you will, to sort of bring it all back down to our earth and how we, the regular people who don’t live in that type of community…how it would be for us. So it’s sort of wish fulfillment.”

It’s also sort of funny, according to Mimoun. “This is the most tremendous cast, and they’re each so funny and sparky,” she says. “I’ve been really lucky about that.”

Okay, dammit, I’ll give it a try. I mean, I disliked “Gossip Girl” from the pilot, so if this is truly a blend of that show and “Gilmore Girls,” it still means I should make it through the first couple of episodes without wanting to kick in the set.

Stylista: Hey, it worked pretty well last time, so again we go to The CW’s press release.

“If ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ were a reality show, it would be ‘Stylista.’ Eleven aspiring fashion enthusiasts vie for a much-coveted editorial job with Elle magazine. They work as assistants to Elle’s Fashion News Director, Anne Slowey, a demanding but well-respected fashion icon. The competitors carry out an assistant task and a fashion editorial assignment in each episode. Each week, in consultation with Elle’s Creative Director, Joe Zee, Anne fires one person, until the last assistant standing gets ‘promoted’ to the coveted real-life job opportunity. The grand prize includes a paid editorial position at Elle magazine, a paid lease on a great apartment in Manhattan, and a clothing allowance at H&M, all for one year, valued at $100,000.”

Well, obviously, I haven’t the slightest interest in watching this show, but I’m sure my mother-in-law will be all over it…and I mean that in the most loving way possible. (She watches “America’s Top Model,” too, so fair enough. To each their own.)

Lastly, we had panels for “The Doctors,” a new daytime series which looks to be like “The View” if it were populated solely by physicians, and “Judge Jeanine Pirro,” which is exactly what it sounds like: yet another court show. Okay, granted, Pirro will be taking on some tougher cases than her peers, including deadbeat dads and domestic violence, but in the end, it’s still a court show, y’know? Still, there’s potential for it to be something at least slightly different. Same deal with “The Doctors,” and since lord knows we’re a nation of hypochondriacs, it may well prove to be a hit. We’ll see what happens.