“Beverly Hills 90210” star Tori Spelling initiated the reboot of the teen soap franchise, which will find a way to honor Luke Perry even though the late actor had not signed up for the revival, CBS TV Studios president David Stapf said Monday.
“Tori Spelling, as she is wont to do, comes in and pitches a lot of ideas and is in our offices a lot,” Stapf said during a panel with other CBS executives at the Keshet INTV Conference in Jerusalem. “She kicked the idea around of ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to get the whole gang back together?'”
Stapf said that Spelling had the idea during a meeting with Ghen Maynard, the CBS head of alternative programming, “and she ran with it, literally put the entire cast together, put a fabulous pitch together with all of them and took it out, and everybody wanted it.”
News of the reboot was officially announced by Fox last month on the same day that Perry, one of its original stars, was taken to the hospital after suffering a major stroke. Perry, 52, died a week ago.
“He was going to be one of the few who was not going to be in it, because he was committed to ‘Riverdale,’” Stapf said, adding that Perry would be honored in some way in the show, but “how we deal with that moving forward is yet to be determined. That’s something the writers are going to have to figure out.”
Spelling had previously said that Perry would “do as many” episodes as he could work in around his “Riverdale” shooting schedule.
Although the “90210” reboot is being produced by CBS TV Studios, Stapf said that “we ultimately decided the best place for it – not only creatively but financially – was Fox, where it originally aired.”
Deborah Barak, the president of business operations for CBS, said the sale to Fox shows “the commitment of the company to sell the project to the best platform for the project.” Barak, who sat on the panel alongside Stapf and CBS All Access executive vice president Julie McNamara, added: “We felt it belonged to Fox, and we made a deal that made us happy to have it at Fox.”
Stapf said that he has to “cut through the clutter” when it comes to commissioning reboots, and that they must stand alone without relying on the audience of the original.
“I must hear a ‘Love Boat’ pitch once a week,” he said. “We haven’t heard a great one yet – one day we will.”