“90210” to return on Fox (updated)

The original “90210” cast from 1991.

In a surprising move, the much-talked about reboot of Beverly Hills, 90210 has been picked up by Fox for a six-episode run this summer.

But in a bizarre twist, in what could be described as It’s Garry Shandling’s Show meets Curb Your Enthusiasm, the six actors who starred on the show are playing fictionalized versions of themselves.

You heard that right.

Singing on to do the project are: Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, and Tori Spelling.

Luke Perry was tapped to appear in a few episodes, but this plan is in serious doubt as he reportedly suffered a stroke in his Los Angeles home Wednesday. Perry plays Archie Andrew’s Dad in the CW drama Riverdale, filmed in Vancouver. There is also no word if Shannen Doherty would appear – in recent years, she had been battling breast cancer.

(Editor’s Note: Perry died on March 4 from complications of his stroke. For more, click here.)

The plot as described by Deadline Hollywood: “In the new series, having gone their separate ways since the original series ended 19 years ago, Jason, Jennie, Ian, Gabrielle, Brian and Tori reunite when one of them suggests it’s time to get a Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot up and running. But getting it going may make for an even more delicious soap than the reboot itself. What will happen when first loves, old romances, friends and frenemies come back together, as this iconic cast – whom the whole world watched grow up together – attempts to continue from where they left off?”

Beverly Hills, 90210 premiered on Fox on October 4, 1990 and was set in the world’s priciest zip code as two twins from Minnesota relocate to California and attend West Beverly High – and found even well-to-do kids suffered from the same problems others did. While it struggled in the ratings at first (it was on opposite NBC’s Cheers, the top-rated show of the 1990-91 season), BH 90210 quickly became a popular program among teens and young adults. The show ran for ten seasons and endured numerous cast changes with Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, and Jennie Garth appearing for the series’ entire run. The series also made sex symbols out of Prestley and Perry.

During the series run, the Brenda character became a target of ire from fans, thanks to Doherty’s reported “bad-girl” reputation, with even an “I Hate Brenda” newsletter in circulation. Doherty left the series in 1994 and her character written out of the show. She was replaced by Saved By The Bell’s Tiffany-Amber Theissen.

Worldvision Enterprises sold Beverly Hills, 90210 into off-network syndication in 1994 and became a surprise hit, given hour-long series were traditionally a tough sell to broadcast stations, especially those with a serialized storyline. In Chicago, BH 90210 aired locally on former independent WGBO-TV, before shifting to CBS-owned WBBM-TV (as a weekly) and later to WPWR-TV as a weekday 11 a.m. strip. Worldvision’s then-owner Spelling Entertainment was sold to Viacom near the end of BH 90210’s run, and now is part of CBS, who is producing the new show.

A sequel series, simply titled 90210, aired on The CW from 2008 to 2013. Spelling, Doherty, and Garth all appeared on the series at one point or another. The cast featured several TV alums, including Arrested Development’s Jessica Walter and Full House’s Lori Laughlin. The program averaged a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49 in its first season, certainly a hit by today’s standards. It is not known if this version would be acknowledged (in other words, part of canon) in the new version.

(This story was updated on March 4 at 2:08 p.m.)

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