The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story: Inside Look at the Teen Drama (PHOTOS)

Damian Holbrook
The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story

Sergei Bachlakov/Lifetime

Same Zip Code, New Story

They were the primetime soaps that put the then-fledgling Fox on the map and kept VCRs humming through the ’90s. And now, Beverly Hills, 90210 and its twentsyomething spinoff, Melrose Place, are the fodder for a pair of campy Lifetime bios custom-made for anyone old enough to remember the Peach Pit After Dark. “We want to celebrate the shows,” executive producer Howard Braunstein promises of The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story and The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story. “But we do it with a wink and a nod. We wanted to have fun.”

Of course, before Melrose, there was the mother ship—Beverly Hills 90210—a mash-up of big hair, hot fashions and high school angst. And lots and lots of headlines, mostly about the show’s holy trinity: Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley and Luke Perry, who graced everything from the cover of Rolling Stone to Trapper Keepers. Here’s some dirt about how the actors will be represented in this inside look of the soapy teen drama.

Aaron Spelling Prod./Everett Collection

Luke Perry (played by Jesy McKinney)

Prior to taking on the role of brooding Dylan McKay, Perry was in construction. “We have this scene where he gets a callback in the middle of work, so he has to borrow a shirt for his audition,” Braunstein recalls. “Of course, he got the role and helped change the dimension of the show.”

Everett Collection

Shannen Doherty (played by Samantha Munro)

“The movie ends with her leaving the series after Season 4 because of her complicated relationship with everyone,” says Braunstein, referring to Doherty’s legendary clashes with the cast during her run as Brenda Walsh. “But we show her as a talented actress.”

Everett Collection

Jason Priestley (played by Max Lloyd-Jones)

The film reveals how Priestley (cast as Brenda’s twin, Brandon) and Doherty shared a tad too much chemistry early on. “When they audition for Darren Star, they keep getting closer and closer because they were attracted to each other,” Braunstein says. “And Darren goes, ‘OK, you’re doing a great job, but remember you’re siblings!’”

Everett Collection

Jennie Garth (played by Abbie Cobb)

Although much has been made about Doherty's behavior, Aaron Spelling himself defanged some of the scandal in his autobiography A Prime-Time Life. Writing that "it's not as if she burned down a set or anything!," he does confirm that "she was late sometimes and that affected other members of the cast, who finally called me and said they couldn't take it anymore." In the movie, "Jennie is part of that, as many were," says Braunstein. "But they have a nice reconciliation."

Aaron Spelling Prod./Everett Collection

Ian Ziering (played by David Lennon)

When asked for his take on the telemovie, the man behind Steve Sanders' mullet-fro laughed that he hoped "they came up with an interesting story" for him. And boy did they. Look for a nod to Ziering's Sharknado gigs in a comedic bit between him and Doherty.

Spelling Television/Everett Collection

Tori Spelling (played by Abby Ross)

Widely known for bringing both Doherty and Priestley to dad Aaron's attention, the film explores Tori's role in their casting and her own desires to play the virginal Donna Martin's funnier side.

Aaron Spelling Prod/Everett Collection

Brian Austin Green (played by Ross Linton)

"He seems to have done great for himself," Braunstein praises of the 90210 grad, who has definitely gotten hotter since his white-boy hip-hop phase at West Beverly. "He is not prominently in the movie, but of course, we show him for what he’s known for—all of his musical talents. We show him developing that."

< >

The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story, Saturday, Oct. 3, 8/7c, Lifetime

Plus: Take an Inside Look at The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story