''Sex and the City'' creator Darren Star isn't the only Hollywood writer expanding his options

By Lynette Rice and William Keck
April 24, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT
Aaron Rapoport

The finale of ”Beverly Hills, 90210” hasn’t even aired yet, but the show is already being revived — as parody. ”Grosse Pointe,” a new half-hour comedy pilot being developed by ex-”90210” producer Darren Star for the WB, focuses on young Hollywood actors starring in a TV high school drama very similar to ”90210.”

How similar? According to the script, the cast includes a ”faux James Dean” sporting a toupee (could that be follically challenged Luke Perry?), a pinup boy and stormy prima donna playing Midwestern brother and sister (Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty perhaps?), and a weight-obsessed Tori Spelling knock-off whose uncle is a network honcho — though she insists she had to audition like everyone else. Star, whose credits include ”Melrose Place” and ”Sex and the City,” maintains ”Pointe”’s characters are ”completely fictional.” But, he adds, ”it’s not ‘90210’ — just like ‘Larry Sanders’ wasn’t ‘Letterman’ or ‘Leno.”’ Uh-huh.

MORE DARREN STAR NEWS When Kevin Williamson left his beloved ”Dawson’s Creek” this season to develop the vapid ”Wasteland” for ABC, it was as if a Carolina hurricane hit the WB drama: The three-year-old show dropped 27 percent in viewers. So, did other scribes learn from Williamson’s mistake? Nosirree. Darren Star is gradually exiting his creation, HBO’s ”Sex and the City,” to concentrate on two network projects that look good for a fall pickup (one’s a Wall Street drama for Fox, the other is the ”90201” sendup ”Grosse Pointe”); and hot writers like Bonnie and Terry Turner (”That ’70s Show”), Rene Balcer (”Law & Order”), Adam Chase (”Friends”), and, eventually, Chuck Lorre (”Dharma & Greg”) are either expanding their reach or leaving their signature shows altogether to develop elsewhere.

Star insists his heavy schedule won’t hurt ”Sex” (not only did he prewrite this season’s episodes, he — like the Turners and Lorre — will handpick a show-runner who’ll mind the store day to day). ”If I had stayed on ‘Beverly Hills, 90210,’ I’d be finishing my run now, and I would have never done anything else,” says Star. ”There’d be no ‘Melrose Place’ and no ‘Sex and the City.”’ Of course, there also wouldn’t have been ”Central Park West.”