10 Fun Facts About ‘Melrose Place,’ Now 30 Years Old
The Melrose Place that premiered 30 years ago, on July 8, 1992, is likely not the Melrose Place you remember.
Initially, Fox’s first Beverly Hills, 90210 spinoff — which focused on the young, attractive residents of the titular West Hollywood apartment complex — played it safe with episodic storylines that neatly resolved at the end of each hour. “We were just eight nice kids trying to make it, and nobody cared,” original cast member Courtney Thorne-Smith (Allison Parker) told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
But then, toward the end of Season 1, came Heather Locklear (Amanda Woodward) and soapy storylines aplenty: murder, blackmail, bombings, kidnappings, double identities, and one memorable wig.
“I’m not sure you would call Melrose Place some of my finest hours,” TV mega-producer Aaron Spelling, one of the masterminds behind Melrose Place, told Rolling Stone in 1994. “But I’d have to say that they’re definitely some of my most fun hours.”
Viewers found it fun, too, with Melrose Place’s second and third seasons averaging north of 14 million viewers per week.
Now that the show is three decades old, read on for more about the making of Melrose.
1. Andrew Shue replaced actor Stephen Fanning in the role of Billy after filming on the Melrose Place pilot had already started, and Fanning only found out when he came to work and found Shue in his trailer.
2. Though she was a full-time cast member starting in Season 2, Locklear was billed as a “special guest star” for her entire time on the series.
3. Locklear was also featured on billboards advertising Melrose Place’s third-season move to Monday nights at 8/7c. The tagline? “Mondays are a Bitch.” (“I thought it was fantastic!” Locklear told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017. “I still have a smaller version of that poster in my house.”)
4. Before joining the series as full-time cast members, both Rob Estes (Kyle McBride) and Linden Ashby (Brett Cooper) played other roles on the show. Estes guest-starred in two episodes as Sam Towler, while Ashby had a two-episode arc as Charles Reynolds.
5. The writers knew they had a plot hole about the Melrose Place apartment complex. “You could not believe after seven years these people, who had actually attained some stature in their careers and had some money, were living in that building,” co-executive producer Carol Mendelsohn told Vulture in 2014. “You tried to ignore it, but it would come up in the writers’ room all the time: Why haven’t they moved?”
6. Speaking of that apartment complex, Melrose Place set decorator Deborah Siegel told Soap Opera Weekly in 1995 that the show’s set had just two apartments and “we just keep redressing them for the different characters.”
7. At the end of production, snow globes filled with Melrose Place pool water — sent out to journalists as a promotion for the finale — got bids of more than $300 on eBay.
8. The Season 2 finale shows Matt Fielding (Doug Savant) going in for a kiss with Rob (Ty Miller) before cutting away to Billy’s shocked reaction. Melrose Place creator Darren Star told Variety in 2015 that the cast and crew actually shot what would have been a groundbreaking same-sex kiss on TV. “We filmed it,” Star said. “The network had the final cut. It was a kiss too far, from their point of view. It was a place they didn’t want to go. Twenty years ago, it was verboten.”
9. The Bold and the Beautiful actress Hunter Tylo sued Spelling Entertainment Group and Spelling Television Inc. over her lost Melrose Place part, saying she was fired from the role of Taylor McBride after getting pregnant. A Los Angeles jury sided with Tylo and awarded her $5 million in 1997. Lisa Rinna, meanwhile, took over the part of Taylor, and when she became pregnant, the writers said they’d script her pregnancy into the show.
10. Melrose Place inspired a 1994 spinoff, Models Inc., which starred Dallas alum Linda Gray in the role of Hillary Michaels, mother of Locklear’s Amanda Woodward and the owner of a Los Angeles modeling agency. The show aired one season on Fox. A 2009 CW reboot of Melrose Place also lasted just one season but found time to bring back Locklear and fellow Melrose alums Thomas Calabro (Michael Mancini), Laura Leighton (Sydney Andrews), Josie Bissett (Jane Andrews Mancini), and Daphne Zuniga (Jo Reynolds).