Fox’s Wednesday-night miniseries BH90210 is not precisely a reboot of that network’s BEVERLY HILLS 90210/90210, which ran from 1990 through 2000. Instead, BH90210 features seven of the original series’ stars – Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Greene, Jason Priestley, Tori Spelling, and Ian Ziering, all executive producers on the new show – as versions of themselves trying to get a remake of 90210 off the ground.
Garth and Spelling spearheaded the move to get BH90210 going, but most of their colleagues enthusiastically came aboard. Holdout Doherty changed her mind and signed on after the unexpected death of former 90210 lead Luke Perry, as BH90210 offered the opportunity to pay tribute to the late actor.
BH90210 is not Ziering’s only current project. After starring in all six SHARKNADO films for Syfy Channel, Ziering co-wrote, executive-produced and stars in ZOMBIE TIDAL WAVE, which premieres on Syfy Saturday, August 17. The satirical horror movie is directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, who helmed all of the SHARKNADO franchise. Additionally, Ziering is engaged in a surprising other enterprise (more about that later).
At a Q&A session with his fellow BH90210 producers/actors, Ziering explains why it’s happening now rather than earlier. “Because the time is right. We’ve been asked to do this show for the last nineteen years. Finally, these ladies [Garth and Spelling] had the wherewithal to put it all together and still had the relationships with us to make it happen.”
Do Ziering’s children understand the pop culture significance of the original 90210? “That’s been an interesting path for me,” Ziering replies. “My kids don’t know 90210, other than the billboards and all the ads they’re seeing driving around town. They know SHARKNADO pretty damn well, but they don’t know 90210, perhaps the biggest thing I’ve done in my career until now. And having them understand that Daddy did this show before [he was married to] Mommy, before [they] were born, there’s something that they’re starting to wrap their heads around.
“Luckily for me, I’ve got the entire original show on a hard drive. I used to go to all the NATPE conventions, and I made friends with all the distributors. And as a gift, they gave me the entire show on VHS tape that I had converted to a hard drive, so I can maintain the integrity of the show. I’ve got the entire original show with all the original content, so all the original music, that I think is really so impactful, something that’s missing from the DVD set, as well as the reruns. I want the kids to see it as people experienced it back then, so they’ll understand how cool Daddy is.”
Later in the day, Ziering follows up with some one-on-one conversation.
ASSIGNMENT X: Had you been saving up the version of yourself we see in BH90210?
IAN ZIERING: We hadn’t been saving anything. This happened when all the variables aligned. With this huge push for all these reboots, it just seemed to be the perfect time to make this happen.
AX: How meta is BH90210? On the show, you’re trying to make this happen, and in reality, you have made it happen, so is it ever mentally tricky?
ZIERING: Yeah, it’s kind of like time folding in on itself again, but real happy to be here, doing something that I had so much fun doing [starting] twenty-nine years ago, getting to work with my fellow cast mates again on a project that touched so many people in a positive way, trying to put a fresh spin on it. It’s really exciting. I’m very happy to be back.
AX: How involved are all of you in the scripting of it?
ZIERING: Quite a bit. Because [the characters are] ourselves, we’re very protective of those intellectual properties. So you can be sure that whatever is coming out of Brian’s mouth is something that Brian would say. Or me. Or Shannen. Or any of us. We’re very involved in story, we’re very involved in dialogue.
AX: Was there anybody you were particularly looking forward to working with again?
ZIERING: I love them all dearly. Are you kidding? They’re like brothers and sisters to me.
AX: What can you say about ZOMBIE TIDAL WAVE?
ZIERING: If you like pop culture stuff, this is going to give you a huge dose of it. For all the fans that loved SHARKNADO, for all the reasons that they loved it, I brought ZOMBIE TIDAL WAVE to the screen.
AX: You got to shoot on a real shipwreck, instead of in a tank …
ZIERING: Yeah. We shot in Thailand, because I was sick and tired of shooting in Baltic countries in the middle of the winter, didn’t really want to do that. Originally, it was meant to shoot in Hawaii, but it worked out better for us to shoot in Thailand, where when the tide goes out, it goes out five or six miles, and any boat that’s left close to shore is lying on the sand, so cinematographically, it lends itself perfectly to [looking like] a tidal wave and the destruction that it would leave.
AX: Had you worked in Thailand before?
ZIERING: Never. I had a vacation with my family there, and once I saw that, I knew that this was the place.
AX: Do you have any other projects going on that we should know about?
ZIERING: Yeah. I work with a shirt manufacturer called Wood & York, and I design men’s casual dress shirts for them. I’m a creative person, and I find many different outlets to be creative in that are very satisfying. Fashion has always been something important to me. Even though my character Steve Sanders had a few missteps along the way, it’s always something that I have personally gravitated towards. So getting a chance to design a clothing line for Wood & York is something that I relish.
AX: Is this one of the shirts that you designed that you’re wearing now?
ZIERING: It is.
AX: And what would you most like people to know about BH90210?
ZIERING: That we have delivered what we all feel are six fantastic episodes, and have created a six-episode miniseries that is for the fans. This is for them. This is to answer all the questions of “When are you guys coming back?” that I’ve been hearing over the last nineteen years. So if it goes longer, that would be great. If not, then I’ve had a great time working with these people.
This interview was conducted at Fox Networks’ party for the Summer 2019 Television Critics Association press tour.
Related: News: ZOMBIE TIDAL previews clips and trailer at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 with star/producer Ian Ziering and the director of SHARKNADO
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Article: Exclusive Interview: SHARKNADO star Ian Ziering talks ZOMBIE TIDAL WAVE and new BH90210 reboot