After a lengthy six-week hiatus, 90210 returns tonight on the CW with 8 episodes, a new timeslot (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.), another director-executive producer at the helm (Rebecca Rand Kirshner) and promises of a muy caliente makeover. It's all part of a master plan to improve the show's dismal ratings and make it more watchable. Gone are first-generation cast members Shannen Dougherty and Jennie Garth—in their place, more screentime for the new kids at West Beverly High and scenes of them swapping spit on the streets of Los Angeles, up against the lockers...even in the woods!
Insiders say 90120 has improved immensely thanks to all these changes, so to get the skinny on tonight's return, Vivo por TiVo spoke exclusively with 24-year-old, half-Ecuadorian actor Michael Steger, who plays Navid Shirazi on the show. Read on to find out what the laidback heartthrob told me about the show’s new direction, plus the rumor that his character will be hearing wedding bells in an upcoming episode!
The preview for tonight’s episode, "Life's a Drag," shows fast cars and tons of lip-locking action. Can you tell us more about what goes down?
Tonight, you’ll get to see what a lot of kids do in California—they street race.
Liam (Matt Lanter) is involved in that world, and he introduces Naomi (AnnaLynn McCord) to it. A lot also goes down between Silver (Jessica Stroup), and Dixon (Dominican actor Tristan Wilds). Their relationship is on the rocks, and the audience will be shocked to find out what happens between them.
Did you get to drive any of those cars?
No, I’m pissed. I was told in the pilot that me and Tristan were going to go joy riding in a Ferrari that my character’s dad owns, but that never happened because no one ever put it in the script. Maybe I’ll get to drive one in Season 2.
So I guess that means you are definitely coming back next season? I hear some of the major characters, including Dustin Milligan, won’t be returning...
Yeah, I am set to return for season 2!
Which also means you’re not the major character who’s rumored to be dying at the end of the season?
Yes. I think I am safe.
Your fans will be happy to hear that! How do you feel about the decision to not bring the orignal Beverly Hills, 90210 characters back next season?
The focus needs to be on the kids. That’s what people are interested in—teenage problems and everything that goes on in high school. And then if the originals do a guest spot every once in a while, that’d be cool.
Rumor has it that your character, Navid, and Adrianna [Jessica Lowndes] will tie the knot in an upcoming episode. Aren’t they a bit young to get married?
Well, Adrianna’s pregnant, and Navid thinks he can handle a lot more than he can. Things are moving so fast that he’s not able to think about what he's doing. With that comes a lot of obstacles, but Navid has a lot of integrity—he's genuinely trying to help her out, and you will get to see how their whole relationship grows and unravels.
Can you give us any other details on this shotgun wedding?
All I can tell you is that there's a proposal involved.
I also hear that Navid and Adrianna will have bachelor/bachelorette parties to celebrate their nuptials, and Navid and the boys will have a wild night at a burlesque club.
Yeah, audiences are going to be really shocked. Someone is going to take off all their clothes, and I’m not saying any names. But it’s pretty hot and heavy, and hilarious.
Navid and Adrianna are a sweet couple, but if you were in high school now, would you date a girl who had a drug problem on top of being pregnant?
That’s a tough question. It depends on the circumstances. Navid is extraordinarily wealthy, so he has the money to support Adrianna. If I was in high school, I don’t know that I’d have the means to pay for her rehab.
Your 90210 character is Persian, but in real life you are Austrian and Ecuadorian. Have you visited Ecuador lately?
I was supposed to go last May. My aunt was turning 70, and they had a huge reunion with family from the states and all over South America. Everyone went, but I missed out because of the upfronts in New York. I was bummed that I couldn’t go. Anybody who’s been to Ecuador wants to go back because it’s beautiful out there.
Do you relate to one culture more than the other?
I’ve always been more in touch with my Ecuadorian side. I speak Spanish. I broke into acting doing Latino roles. I played a Latino casanova in The Winner and a Latino character on Hannah Montana.
You were also in The Cheetah Girls: One World movie with fellow half-Ecuadorian, Adrienne Bailon. Were you surprised when the scandal broke over her nude pics?
Yeah, because she’s like the sweetest girl ever. It was sad to see her have a bad experience in the press. I don’t wish that on anybody. I hope everything works out.