A new 'Beverly Hills 90210' is in the works and some industry experts wonder why
James Van Der Beek, Dawson's Creek, ...
Credit: George Lange

Fox Broadcasting Co. is planning a new “Beverly Hills 90210” with a second generation of sexy teenagers to replace the current show, according to sources at the network. When “90210” first aired in 1990, it was the pioneer series in Fox’s attempt to target 12- to-24-year-old viewers. Nearly a decade later, however, the WB has usurped Fox’s reign as the leader in teen dramas with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dawson’s Creek,” and this year’s “Felicity” and “Charmed”.

Because of today’s tough competition, TV analysts are skeptical that a new “90210” will succeed. “When ‘90210’ started there was nothing really like it on television,” says Paul Schulman, president of the New York City ad-buying company Schulman/Advanswers. “Now there are a lot of serial dramas for young people, and I don’t think teenage girls can make the commitment to watch so many shows in a week.”

“They’re milking an old cow,” seconds media analyst Marc Berman. “‘90210’ was a breakout show for Fox, and it’s had a good nine years. But to start over? No. Remember ‘Joanie Loves Chachi’? You can only get so much out of a show.”

Steve Sternberg, director of broadcast research at TN Media, agrees that the new ‘90210’ faces a tough challenge. But he thinks that Fox might turn a profit on the show nonetheless: “It’s almost at the point where they’re producing (the current) ‘90210’ at a deficit, so financially it would be better for the producers to air the new show, wait three or four years, and then put it in syndication.” By then, the third ‘90210’ should be ready to roll.

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