They've got our number: New 90210 headed for massive TV debut

They’ve got our number: New 90210 headed for massive TV debut

By BILL HARRIS

BEVERLY HILLS — One of the slogans for the new 90210 is, “If you wanna live in the zip, you gotta live by the code.”

Well, the cast and creators of 90210 literally were “in the zip” during their standing-room-only appearance at the Television Critics Association tour. The zip code for the Beverly Hilton, the hotel where the TCA tour is centred, actually is 90210.

As for the code, the primary message to reporters was that 90210 is a “spinoff” of the original Beverly Hills 90210, not a “remake.” The new version of 90210 debuts with a two-hour extravaganza Sept. 2 on CW, the show’s network of origin in the United States, and on Global in Canada.

Of course, going the “spinoff” route opens the door for cast members of the original Fox series, which was a cultural phenomenon in the 1990s, to pop by.

It was announced over the weekend that Shannen Doherty, who played Brenda Walsh, has signed on for a multi-episode arc, joining Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling for roles that are “more than cameos,” according to the producers of 90210. There are no deals yet with Luke Perry or Jason Priestley, but you can bet they’re coming.

“I was 1 when the show came out, but my mom raised me on it,” said Toronto native Shenae Grimes, who plays the Brenda Walsh-inspired Annie Wilson in 90210. “I’m very shell-shocked every time I meet one of the old cast members and see the old high school.

“I don’t think I ever would be able to get the words ‘Hi, I’m Shenae’ out if I ever met Luke Perry.”

Grimes, who is best known for her work on CTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation, was asked by an American reporter if there are any similarities between her character’s move from Kansas City to Beverly Hills and her own move from Toronto to Los Angeles.

“It’s a big culture shock,” Grimes said. “There’s no such thing as celebrity back home.”

That’s when Yellowknife native Dustin Milligan, the other Canadian member of the 90210 cast, interjected by saying, “Hockey players.”

“Hockey players are a big deal, but actors — I mean, I didn’t get recognized in Canada very often,” Grimes said. “If I did, nobody would approach me, let alone take my picture when I wasn’t looking. There are more Range Rovers here — the paparazzi.”

Milligan, who plays popular jock Ethan Ward, said his cast-mates have been scolding him to get a tan.

“It’s taking me forever with my icy, northern skin,” Milligan said.

Jeff Judah, co-executive producer of 90210, complimented Grimes and Milligan by saying, “There’s a certain wholesomeness about these Canadian kids.” But cast-mate Tristan Wilds added, “On screen — don’t let them fool you.”

Given the hype, 90210 is headed for a massive debut. Whether viewers keep watching depends on what they see.

That’s the code of TV, and as 90210 attests, you gotta live by the code. Just remember, Shenae and Dustin, that’s zip, not postal.

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