Feel like going back in time with me? Who didn’t love the exploits of Brenda and Brandon Walsh? Together with their friends, Kelly, Dylan, Donna, David, and Steve they were a part of one of the biggest shows on TV, “Beverly Hills, 90210”.
Now, you can re-live the series through the hugely successful podcast “The Blaze with Lizzie and Kat” which releases new episodes every Monday on iTunes and Sticher. Recently, I had a chance to talk to the show’s hosts Lizzie and Kat about their podcast, their hysterical run in with a famous guest star from the series, and more! Make sure you follow the girls on their website and twitter!
How did you pick 90210 as your podcast?
Kat: Both Lizzie and I had watched the series’ early seasons in their original airing at an inappropriately young age thanks to having older sisters (who were the gateway to everything cool in the early ’90s). We connected over binge-watching the DVDs all over again when in college and years later, in 2014, we decided a podcast would be a great excuse to wax poetic about our mutual affinity for this beloved show.
Lizzie: We take our love of Beverly Hills, 90210 —but also a critical eye developed over years of working in the entertainment industry and a lifetime of pop culture snarking— and break down an episode of the series with a special guest. In re-watching and dissecting each episode today, it’s easy to ridicule the dated fashions (bike shorts under miniskirts!) and set decorations (colossal cordless phones with retractable antennas!), but all things considered, the underlying narratives told across the series still hold up!
When do new episodes drop?
New episodes drop every Monday at 12:00am Pacific time, and are available on iTunes, our website, and podcast apps like Stitcher and Pocket Casts. Because we’re going through the episodes of the series chronologically, we encourage our listeners to watch the show along with us on Hulu Plus. Also, throughout the week, we post funny screenshots from the episode on our Instagram page.
How often do you record an episode?
We try to record once or twice a week, but the schedule really varies based on our guest’s availability and trying to plan ahead around work and travel. One of the things we love so much about recording our show is that almost without exception, we record in person with our guests, so we get a chance to socialize and have some wine with these creative people we admire.
Who’s your favorite 90210 couple?
Lizzie: Kat and I aren’t always in agreement when it comes to 90210 (she being an “Andrea,” and me being a “Donna”/ “Brenda”/ “Steve” hybrid), but we are united in our steadfast belief that the series’ OTP (One True Pairing) will forever be Brenda and Dylan.
What’s your favorite episode from the series?
Kat: On the podcast we break down one episode of the original series at a time, and we’re currently in the midst of the show’s third season (a.k.a. “Senior Year”). Of the episodes we’ve covered to date, we deemed the Season 2 episode “U4EA” so iconic that we made it the basis of our first live show with guest Christine Elise McCarthy (who played “Emily Valentine” in the episode). The Season 2 episode “The Next Fifty Years” —in which Scott Scanlon accidentally shoots himself at his sixteenth birthday party— is another one fans of 90210 will never forget, and we were grateful to have comedian Pete Holmes join us and bring levity to an otherwise heavy episode.
Lizzie: Looking to the future, we’re so excited to cover the infamous prom episode later this season. We also can’t wait to arrive at the Season 5 storyline involving the electrical fire at Steve’s illicit house party, which results in Kelly being badly burned and forming a very special bond with fellow survivor Allison.
Who have been your favorite guests so far?
This is such a tough question! Our tenth podcast, about the Season 1 episode “Isn’t It Romantic?” was the first time that we got a chance to interview someone associated with Beverly Hills 90210, writer Karen Rosin. We were so nervous to meet her, and it was great that she came to the recording with a bundle of notes she’d prepared while re-watching the episode! We’ve since gotten to know her husband Chuck, the series’ executive producer, who contributes to our podcast with a weekly behind-the-scenes segment.
Do the stars of the show listen to the podcast?
We’re not sure which stars listen on a regular basis, but we do know that Shannen Doherty and Gabrielle Carteris are at least aware of the podcast. Also, Ian Ziering and Tori Spelling follow us on social media and interact with us periodically via those platforms!
I see that you sell merchandise. How has having merchandise helped your brand (with regards to the show?)
The merchandise is something that we do more for fun than to generate significant revenue for the podcast. We offset the costs associated with producing the show with the support of our awesome sponsor, Greenwich Letterpress, a New York-based letterpress studio. Listeners can also show their support by shopping through our Amazon link (at no cost to them) or making a direct donation. We mainly view the merchandise as an additional branding opportunity, and great way for people to enjoy 90210 inside-jokes as well, like the “U4EA Dealer” shirt.
You’ve had a lot of people from the TV series on the show. Who would you love to have on the show as your dream guest?
Lizzie: We’ve long dreamt about having Nicole Richie and Diablo Cody —both 90210 superfans— on the podcast. We’ve noticed (via her Twitter) that actress Gabby Sidibe was recently re-watching the series, and we’re dying to get her take on the shenanigans at West Beverly High. We’ve also heard that stars like James Franco, Sophia Bush, and Lena Dunham are fans of the series, and we think it would be so much fun to sit down with them to discuss their 90210 journeys!
Kat: Among the original 90210 cast members, we think Douglas Emerson (who portrayed the ill-fated Scott Scanlon in Seasons 1 and 2) would be a MAJOR get. There’s still a good deal of urban legend surrounding his decision to leave the most popular teen show of the time, never to act again. We wonder what he’s up to now!
You also have a live version of your podcast. Can you tell me how long it takes to prepare for a live show compared to a regular podcast recording?
Last year we put on our first live show, but it definitely won’t be our last. A regular podcast recording takes a few days’ worth of research, preparing the show outline, and editing. The live show took weeks of planning to make sure we produced the best show possible, including editing a trailer for the episode we’d be discussing, creating a playlist of songs to pipe into the theater while the audience was getting seated, and organizing the run of show. We had the amazing Prom Queen come all the way from Seattle to perform a song live onstage, giveaways for every audience member, and production help from Kat’s sister Alexx and the staff of the Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics. We’re still working out the details, but you can expect some more live versions of the podcast this summer and fall!
Did you see the Unauthorized 90210 film on Lifetime? If so what were your thoughts?
Prior to the Lifetime movie’s October premiere, we had its screenwriter Jeff Roda on our podcast to discuss his process and entreat listeners to watch. While we were disappointed by some of the film’s omissions —for example, there was no reference to first-season regular Douglas Emerson, or to older cast members Carol Potter and James Eckhouse— we were titillated by a handful of revelations. Among them: upon seeing an early cut of the show’s campy pilot, Gabrielle Carteris (“Andrea”) was so certain the series would be D.O.A. that she immediately applied for a bartending job.
Will you be covering the 90210 reboot after you’re done covering all of the original episodes?
Unlikely. We’ve talked at length on the podcast about not feeling like the reboot resonates with us nearly as much as the original series, but we did welcome our friends Brendan and Derick on the show after our first season to defend the new series to us. We watched a couple of episodes, and had fun discussing them with the guys, but it’s doubtful we’ll dig into them much further on the podcast. It would be more likely that when we’re done with Beverly Hills 90210, we might consider podcasting about another TV show or topic instead.
Any funny stories happen to you while recording?
Kat: We haven’t had any major mishaps while recording yet (*knock on wood*), but generally speaking producing this podcast has resulted in some very memorable encounters! Top of mind is the time we unexpectedly ran into Paul Johansson (who portrayed the infamous KEG brother “John Sears” in Season 4 of 90210) at a comedy event in Hollywood. For reasons we still do not fully understand, this particular cast member sighting made both Lizzie and me —contrary to our usual ability to maintain professional composure during ‘celebrity’ encounters— transform into giggling fangirls.
Lizzie: We finally mustered the courage to approach Paul and introduce our podcast when, at the last second, I nervously bailed —dashing behind a corner and leaving Kat to address Paul on her own! When I finally joined the conversation, the only words I could formulate were “John Sears! KEG!” …Despite our goofiness, Paul was very gracious and even offered to pose for a picture.
What advice would you give to new podcasters?
Podcasting is a lot of work, and you’re probably going to be doing it for free —in fact, at a cost— so make sure you’re creating a show that you enjoy. We enjoy everything about our podcast, from the subject matter to our dynamic as co-hosts, the details of production, and getting to interview our awesome guests. If any one of those elements felt more like a chore than a fun hobby that we get to do, it really would be tough to put out our show every week. One thing that’s been incredibly helpful has been building a network of friends on social media who can help with technical questions, reaching out to potential guests, and spreading the word about our show. Finally, push yourself to make the best show you can. Before we released our first episode, we built sound booths to improve the quality of our recordings, set up our web presence, had our logo designed, and backlogged half a dozen episodes so we could be ahead of our schedule. We figured we had one chance to make a first impression, and we wanted to put our best foot forward —although it’s easy for us to tell how much more professional the show has gotten after two and a half seasons! As avid podcast listeners, we know how easy it is to turn off a new podcast if the hosts seem bored or unfocused, or sound like they’re all talking into a built-in laptop mic. We wanted to make sure that even people who’d never watched Beverly Hills 90210 could enjoy our rapport and the quality of our episodes, and we feel confident we’ve achieved that.