It's been 25 years since then Fox chief Barry Diller convinced (a rather reluctant) Aaron Spelling to take a chance on a little high-school drama called Beverly Hills, 90210. And while much of the show's off-screen drama (i.e., Shannen Doherty's diva behavior) was already widely documented, Lifetime's The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story, which aired Saturday, Oct. 3, still managed to offer a handful of revelations.
Let's take a look at them:
1. Jason Priestley was once Brad Pitt's roommate.
That's right. The two actors were living in a shared house together when Priestley was cast in 90210. Pitt probably wasn't jealous, though, because around this same time, he received his first major break as well, landing the role as Geena Davis' no-good love interest, J.D., in Thelma & Louise.
2. Luke Perry was a construction worker.
And he was on the brink of giving acting up entirely when he first read for the show. He originally read for the part of Steve Sanders, which went to Ian Ziering. But when execs decided the show needed a bad boy, they called Perry back and cast him as Dylan McKay.
3. Luke Perry only got the part because Aaron Spelling paid him out of his own pocket.
Fox execs didn't like Luke, but Spelling did. The producer ultimately put his money where his mouth was and paid the young actor out of his own pocket to ensure him a spot. When audiences went gaga over the resident bad boy, he was upgraded to a regular cast member.
4. Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley can thank Tori Spelling for their careers.
If this unauthorized version of the making of 90210 is to be believed, it was Tori who convinced her father to cast Doherty and Priestley. Tori seemed to fancy herself as a young Hollywood insider (which, to be fair, she clearly was), and told her dad she knew all of the up-and-coming talent (which, to be fair, she clearly did). If it weren't for her, these two might never have been siblings Brenda and Brandon Walsh.
5. Basically, everyone made out with everyone else.
Not that it's super surprising or anything, but Priestley made out with both Jennie Garth (vixen Kelly Taylor) and Doherty, who also made out with Perry, who also made out with Jennie. Oh, Tori and Brian Austin Green (school DJ David Silver) also hooked up kind of a lot. (Watch her take a lie detector test about which costars she hooked up with!)
6. The network freaked out when Brenda lost her virginity to Dylan — and then boasted about it to her friends instead of showing remorse.
Today it barely ticks the radar when teenagers hook up on network TV, but 25 years ago, that was not the case. When Brenda lost her virginity to Dylan and then seemed to delight in her decision, advertisers pulled out and the network execs flipped. Ultimately, the powers-that-be forced co-creator Darren Starr and the writers to break up Brenda and Dylan … before they could (gasp!) have sex again.
7. The show probably would have been canceled if it weren't for the first Gulf War.
90210 was on the chopping block when the first Gulf War broke out. As other networks canceled their programming to switch to a 24-hour news cycle, Dillard decided to go gangbusters in the other direction and run an entire summer of brand new 90210 episodes. He called it something fancy like "counter-programming," but really it was a play for a ratings grab — and it paid off big time.
8. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were fans of the show.
It's unclear whether the former President of the United States really came up to Perry and Priestley at a burger joint to tell them he and his wife watched 90210, but we like to think he did.
9. All of the co-stars hated Shannen Doherty — especially Jennie Garth.
Doherty was notorious for showing up late to set, resulting in everyone else having to hang around and wait for hours on end. She offered some (lame) excuses, ranging from her car overheating to "tough times" at home, but the cast and crew became increasingly irritated with her bad behavior. At one point, things got so heated between Garth and Doherty that they took it outside to fight in the parking lot. Though it stopped before it really started, it was clear that Doherty was getting out of control.
10. Tori Spelling had Shannen Doherty's back — until Shannen threatened her on set.
For no apparent reason, Spelling really did consider Doherty a friend, and resisted joining the movement to kick her out of the cast longer than anyone else. That changed, however, when Spelling instructed the actress to go get ready (after she showed up late again) and the fiery brunette replied, "You better watch your back." Last time we checked, threatening the boss's daughter is not the wisest move. Doherty was packing her bags shortly after that.
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