On this day in 1990, Beverly Hills, 90210, a TV drama about a group of teenagers living in upscale Beverly Hills, California, debuts on Fox; it will eventually become one of the top-rated shows on the new “fourth network,” which launched in 1986. Created by Darren Star and produced by Aaron Spelling, the show turned its relatively unknown cast of actors, including Luke Perry, Jason Priestley and Tori Spelling (Aaron’s daughter), into household names. It also tackled a number of topical issues ranging from domestic abuse to teen pregnancy to AIDS and paved the way for other popular teen dramas, including Dawson’s Creek and The O.C.
Beverly Hills, 90210 originally centered around Brenda (Shannen Dougherty) and Brandon Walsh (Priestley), middle-class high-school-age twins from Minnesota who relocate to ritzy Beverly Hills with their parents. The Walshes attend the fictional West Beverly Hills High School, along with bad boy Dylan (Perry), popular blonde Kelly (Jennie Garth), rich kid Steve (Ian Ziering), virginal Donna (Spelling) and nerdy David (Brian Austin Green). Over the course of the show’s 10 seasons, the characters became entangled in numerous love triangles, graduated from high school and moved on to college and careers.
The show was the first big hit for the screenwriter and producer Darren Star, who went on to create the 90210 spinoff Melrose Place, which originally aired from 1992 to 1999, and the popular HBO TV series Sex and the City, which originally aired from 1998 to 2004. Aaron Spelling, who died in 2006 at the age of 83, was one of the most prolific producers in the history of television. Spelling’s credits include The Mod Squad, Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, Starsky and Hutch, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and 7th Heaven.
The final episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 aired on May 17, 2000. A new version of the show, titled 90210, premiered on September 2, 2008. The show follows a Kansas family who moves to Beverly Hills. Of the original Beverly Hills, 90210, cast, Jennie Garth reprises her role as Kelly, now a guidance counselor at West Beverly Hills High, while Shannon Doherty has guest starred as Brenda, who has become an actress.