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CW president talks 'Melrose Place' remake

January 13, 2009 |  7:30 am

Heatherlocklear We have good news and we have bad news regarding the CW's remake of "Melrose Place."

Because we are journalists, we will begin with the bad. Mark Schwan, the executive producer of the long-running "One Tree Hill," will not be developing the new version of "Melrose Place" after all.  We of the Melrose tribe were very excited to hear that Schwan was involved with the project, because he's proved himself to understand young people's angst.

Who is writing the pilot script instead and how much does he or she get angst, promiscuity and downright insanity?

CW President of Entertainment Dawn Ostroff said Monday she's "in negotiations" with someone now but could not identify the person because the deal is not done. But the network would like to have the show on its air next fall if it all works out.

Ostroff, who attended a TCA press tour event at the Peach Pit (Kokomo Cafe in Los Angeles), said she wants the show to be based on new 20-something characters, but thinks it's important to include cast members of the original, the way the network did with the remake of "90210."  But executives have not spoken to any of the former actors yet.

"We’ve talked about everybody, but we haven’t spoken to anybody yet," she said.

Even Heather Locklear?

"Obviously, we’ve talked about Heather Locklear," she said. "When you talk about Melrose, that’s who you think about."

Ostroff thinks the timing for the show is right. For one, "Melrose Place" spun off from "Beverly Hills, 90210," and that worked out nicely. But more important, she said, America is facing some of the same issues that existed in 1992 when "Melrose Place" premiered.

"The pilot talked about the building being foreclosed on, people not having jobs," she said.  "So it’s interesting that it took place in a similar time, not that there’s anything really similar to what we’re going through, but it was a time when the economy was in a downturn. And the kids were all trying to get their lives started." (Not to mention sleep with each other).

Ostroff wants the new series to show off Los Angeles more.

The original "wasn’t a show that tried to really capture the feeling of Melrose, which we think was an opportunity that we can really take advantage of," Ostroff said. "We really envision the show being stylized, of having that feeling of Hollywood, of that whole cultural thing you really haven’t seen on TV."

Asked by a critic if the tone of the remake will consist of the sweet earnestness that the original had in its first season or the sensational madness that made it a hit, Ostroff laughed. (Please, oh please, the latter!)

"We’ve actually had that exact conversation," she said. "Certainly I don’t think it’s people blowing up buildings in the beginning. Initially, you have to get invested in the characters, but I also think that it can’t be so so sleepy that not enough is going on. Our fans really love some of that heightened drama, as you can see when you watch 'One Tree Hill' and 'Gossip Girl.' So the job is both: to get them emotionally invested in the people and then do storylines that have twists and turns and surprises you never expected."

---Maria Elena Fernandez

(Photo courtesy AP)

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