The second episode of “BH90210” airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday evening on Fox seven days after a premiere that was last week’s most-watched prime-time program among adults under 50 on broadcast television.
“BH90210” stars the seven surviving original cast members of the 1990-2000 Fox teen drama “Beverly Hills, 90210” — Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris and Brian Austin Green — playing what the network described as heightened versions of themselves in a scripted drama inspired by their real lives and relationships with each other.
Each of the cast members also receives executive producer credits for the six-episode season whose main story line is about the attempt by Spelling and Garth to produce a “Beverly Hills, 90210” reboot for Fox.
Christine Elise, who had a recurring role on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” guest stars on Wednesday’s episode, which features Spelling attempting to get her former castmates to commit to appearing on the reboot.
Future episodes will be about “getting all of the moving parts in place to do the reboot,” executive producer Mike Chessler told City News Service, as well as “the cast getting back in each other’s lives,” fellow executive producer Chris Alberghini said.
Said Chessler: “That’s what we feel is the main emotional and story component of these first six.”
Future seasons are a possibility.
“We would love to continue to work together,” Spelling said during Fox’s presentations at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour held in Beverly Hills on Aug. 7 — coincidentally the date “BH90210” premiered. “We have so many stories to tell that this could keep going on season after season.”
In creating “BH90210,” Spelling and Garth opted to have the actors portray heightened versions of themselves instead of the characters they originally played because “if they were playing characters, there would be certain limitations on what they would be able to play because of the how the characters were originally created,” Chessler said.
“This gives everyone the freedom to sort of own their own personalities and maybe go a little further and also gives everyone dramatic license to make fun of themselves and explore issues that they each find importance in their own lives in the context of a fictional show.”
There are references to some of the cast members’ real-life activities — Priestley being a television director, Spelling a reality television star, Carteris president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Garth getting divorced multiple times.
“We kind of wanted to leave it for the audience not to be able to decipher what’s real, what’s based on something real, what’s totally fictionalized, and we think they will have a lot of fun doing that,” Spelling said.
All the spouses and children of the series regulars on “BH90210” “are completely fictionalized,” Spelling said.
Doherty said she initially decided not to be part of “BH90210,” but the death of Luke Perry, who played her character’s boyfriend Dylan McKay in the original series, prompted her to participate.
“When Luke passed away, things drastically changed for me,” Doherty said. “I felt like it was a great opportunity to sort of honor him.”
Perry died March 4, five days after suffering a stroke. He was 52.
Perry’s role as Fred Andrews on The CW teen drama “Riverdale,” would have kept him from appearing in all the “BH90210” episodes, but “he talked about actually guesting on the show” and “had been part of some of the conversations we actually had as a group when we were at the studios” and had “submitted communications and shared ideas,” Carteris said.
The “BH90210” premiere concluded with a clip of a scene with Perry and Priestley from a first-season “Beverly Hills, 90210” episode.
Unlike the original which was filmed in Southern California, the reboot was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, because of a decision by CBS Television Studios, which produces the series with Fox Entertainment, Alberghini said.
“CBS has a production entity up there,” Chessler said. “Because we were picked up on such an accelerated schedule, it just made sense to plug us into that operation.”
Filming in Vancouver meant putting “lots of palm trees on forklifts that have to be moved around and placed in the background, choosing certain angles that don’t favor geographic features that are not Southern California,” Alberghini said.
However, “in terms of production itself, there were no challenges,” he said. “Everything you can do here, you can do there.”