The CW’s 90210 kicks off its fourth season this Tuesday at 8/7c, and while a lot has changed (showrunners, cast members, college), new executive producer Patti Carr (Life Unexpected) tells TVLine that fans need not fret — it’s still the same emotionally-heightened coming-of-age sudser you know and love.
TVLINE | Welcome to 90210! Is this season going to be an example of new showrunners, new show?
Not at all. It was an exciting challenge to come in and decide how we were going to take these kids from childhood to adulthood. The kids will start to define themselves and confront who they are.
TVLINE | Season 3 ended on an ambiguous note as to who was actually going to college. That said, how will everyone still interact if they are all in separate locations?
We’re using college the way that kids want college to be — it’s all about the parties and the social life, things that everyone can be involved in whether they’re at the college or not. Our approach was really to take all of the characters who had plans for their lives and screw it all up and make them go through a whole lot of stuff to realize that their friends are their new family. Everybody is back in the premiere episode and you’ll see where they’ve been over the summer, what they thought their lives were going to be, and then how everything changed for them. And we take it from there.
TVLINE | So… who will and who will not make it onto the California University campus?
Naomi’s (AnnaLynne McCord) dream has always been to go to CU and she ends up there; Annie (Shenae Grimes) was supposed to go to Carnegie Melon, and her plans change; Dixon (Tristan Wilds) was going to go to Pepperdine, his plans change; Liam (Matt Lanter) left and came back with plans, but they don’t go the way he planned…
TVLINE | Where do things stand with newlyweds Ivy & Raj when the show picks up?
Ivy and Raj (Gillian Zinser and Manish Dayal) are back [in town] and we’re going to follow the progression of his cancer, as well as their marriage. It’s interesting because they took that step into marriage and really thrust themselves into their adult lives, more so than everyone else.
TVLINE | That was a beautiful little arc in Season 3. Do you plan to maintain his “three years to live” cancer prognosis?
There are actually not only different obstacles for Raj and Ivy, but a really interesting twist on their story regarding what happens with Raj’s cancer. We fell in love with it and when we pitched it to the studio, there were audible gasps.
TVLINE | A remission story, perhaps?
There may be some elements of that. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Most of the new characters we’re hearing about seem very Naomi-centric. Is she central to the story this season?
One of the things we said about any of the new characters we brought in was that they couldn’t really exist only in the world of one character; they’ve got to touch multiple characters’ lives. So, if you’re referring to our cowboy Austin, in the the premiere he has a love/hate relationship with Naomi, but he also ends up rooming with Dixon. There are multiple connections for each character.
TVLINE | What’s become of Naomi’s baby daddy/boyfriend, Max?
Max’s (Josh Zuckerman) plans change in an interesting way. He’s in the premiere and in subsequent episodes after, and we definitely follow up on what happened with Max and Naomi in the finale.
TVLINE | So, Naomi’s pregnancy storyline will immediately be addressed?
Yes, it’s answered in the premiere and I will say that Naomi is not a liar. We’re adamantly against lying about being pregnant… But they do deal with it and it spins their relationship in a different direction.
TVLINE | Can you talk at all about Teddy’s exit in Season 4?
Teddy’s storyline last season really impressed us and was handled so well, that we wanted to continue that by telling something real and impactful. We found one arc that we really loved that didn’t require Trevor Donovan to be in every single episode, so that’s why his deal changed. It’s one that we’re most excited about this season, because it can really touch people’s lives. Trevor has been really spectacular.
ADDED BONUS | Michael Steger tells TVLine at that the relationship between Silver (Jessica Stroup) and Navid is “very strong” in Season 4. “Navid and Silver move in together, as well as begin working together at his company, Shirazi Entertainment,” he reveals. “She’s my assistant.” Steger says that the series has added Navid’s 17-year-old sister to the mix, who also moves in with the couple. “It’s almost like we’re raising this teenager.” The actor tells us that one of his favorite parts of the new season is that, “You’re going to see a lot more of the cast together this season, especially characters who never had scenes together.”
Which 90210 storyline are you most tuning in for during Season 4?