It looks like 90210‘s martini-swilling granny may be headed for another stint in rehab. Sources confirm to me exclusively that Jessica Walter has been dropped as a series regular.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the MVP won’t be leaving the show. Not yet, anyway.
A 90210 insider says while it’s true that Walter’s contract option was not picked up for the second half of the season, the Arrested Development grande dame has agreed to appear on a recurring basis, her schedule permitting.
“Fans have not seen the last of Tabitha,” assures executive producer Gabe Sachs. “We love Jessica.”
According to my moles, the decision to take Walter off contract was made purely for financial reasons. As the show continues to evolve, it didn’t make sense to, as one 90210 insider puts it, “pay her all that money to utter two funny lines an episode.”
Instead, 90210 will continue to invest in headline-grabbing vets like Shannen Doherty, as well as characters that drive story, such as Jessica Lowndes’ Adrianna (who was just made a series regular).
Ironically, Walter’s status change comes as 90210 is about to morph into a show more worthy of her considerable talents. Upcoming episodes under its new exec producer, Gilmore Girls vet Rebecca Kirshner, have been a “vast improvement,” raves a setsider. “The writing is sharper and the characters much more interesting.”
And with all the dough they’ll save on faux vodka — not to mention what already has to be a minuscule craft-services budget — maybe now they’ll be able to afford Luke Perry!
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