Darren Star

Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Darren Star talks about his college years studying writing at UCLA and his first industry job as an assistant at the public relations firm, Guttman & Pam. He discusses his early successes as a screenwriter, and how he transitioned to writing for television with his show Beverly Hills, 90210. Star details working with Aaron Spelling and the immense success of Beverly Hills, 90210, as well as creating his next hit show, Melrose Place. He talks about his break from Spelling Entertainment and creating two series about the glamour of New York City: Central Park West and the cultural phenomenon, Sex and the City. For Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Sex and the City he talks about censorship issues that arose from the shows' often controversial subject matter, as well as his favorite moments and episodes. He also details the casting of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City, plus the legacy of each show. Star concludes by discussing his latest series, Younger, and giving advice to aspiring writers. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on October 6, 2015 in New York, NY.

"If I had more of a typical career, I probably would have just stayed on '90210' for 10 years and never left. Because I think that's what you're supposed to do. You're not supposed to ever leave a hit show. But I was too young and just had too much of a creative appetite to do that and so I just chose to always take risks and try new things and that's what I keep doing."

Highlights
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on the development of Sex and the City
04:53
Darren Star on Chris Noth as "Mr. Big" on Sex and the City  and the real-life inspiration for the character
02:22
Darren Star on not allowing success to inhibit you in your career choices
01:02
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his first industry job at the public relations firm Guttman & Pam
14:18
On selling his first screenplay; on how Beverly Hills, 90210 was developed
16:38
On casting Beverly Hills, 90210; on the difference between being a screenwriter and being the creator/writer of a television show
15:01

Chapter 2

On some of Beverly Hills, 90201's controversial storylines; on creating Melrose Place
15:25
On some of Melrose Place's controversial storylines; on the success of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place
14:46
On creating Central Park West; on the development and casting of Sex and the City
14:57
On the importance of New York City and fashion to Sex and the City; on the Sex and the City writers room
10:44

Chapter 3

On the way sex was depicted on Sex and the City; on the men of Sex and the City
17:32
On the legacy of Sex and the City; on other television projects: Grosse Pointe and Kitchen Confidential
12:45
On his years producing shows at Sony; on Younger
08:09
On his writing process; on advice to aspiring writers; on his proudest career achievements and his career regrets
12:52
Shows

Beverly Hills, 90210

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Darren Star on how Beverly Hills, 90210 was developed
10:40
Darren Star on why the school was called "West Beverly High" instead of "Beverly Hills High School" on Beverly Hills, 90210
00:40
Darren Star on developing the pilot of Beverly Hills, 90210 with Aaron Spelling 
00:47
Darren Star on wanting Beverly Hills, 90210 to be a modern, honest take on being a teenager or "thirtysomething for teenagers"
02:32
Darren Star on casting Beverly Hills, 90210
08:53
Darren Star on why and how Beverly Hills, 90210 tackled social issues, particularly at the start of the series
02:00
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on Beverly Hills, 90210's rise to popularity
02:16
Darren Star on working with the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210
01:21
Darren Star on why Shannen Doherty left Beverly Hills, 90210
00:42
Darren Star on creating Melrose Place and its relationship to Beverly Hills, 90210
04:48
Darren Star on the legacy of Beverly Hills, 90210
02:15
Darren Star on the impact of Melrose Place and its thematic connection to two of his other shows, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City
01:24

Central Park West

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Darren Star on creating Central Park West
02:47

Melrose Place

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Darren Star on creating Melrose Place and its relationship to Beverly Hills, 90210
04:48
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on a memorable moment on Melrose Place: "Kimberly Shaw" taking off her wig
02:34
Darren Star on his favorite relationships and characters to write on Melrose Place
00:52
Darren Star on the impact of Melrose Place and its thematic connection to two of his other shows, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City
01:24

Sex and the City

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Darren Star on the impact of Melrose Place and its thematic connection to two of his other shows, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City
01:24
Darren Star on the development of Sex and the City
04:53
Darren Star on casting Sex and the City
05:38
Darren Star on the Sex and the City writers room and the comedy of the show
04:08
Darren Star on having characters address the camera on Sex and the City, and eliminating the device in later seasons
01:22
Darren Star on how the writers plotted out the first season of Sex and the City
01:50
Darren Star on the intended audience for Sex and the City
02:12
Darren Star on the way sex was depicted on Sex and the City
01:52
Darren Star on his favorite gags and storylines on Sex and the City
01:28
Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO objected to
01:33
Darren Star on Chris Noth as "Mr. Big" on Sex and the City  and the real-life inspiration for the character
02:22
Darren Star on the men of Sex and the City
07:39
Darren Star on the Sex and the City series finale
00:49
Darren Star on the legacy of Sex and the City
01:48

Younger

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Darren Star on the themes of Younger, which is based on a book, and why he was interested in making it into a TV show
02:47
Darren Star on Younger being on TV Land and the changing landscape of television
02:39
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Darren Star on Sex and the City winning the Emmy right after 9/11
01:25

Advice

View Topic
Darren Star on trusting your own instincts as a writer and not allowing the audience to influence your choices
02:16
Darren Star on not allowing success to inhibit you in your career choices
01:02
Darren Star on advice to aspiring writers
01:09

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO objected to
01:33

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Darren Star on words of encouragement he received from his college writing professor, Brian Moore
02:11

Criticism of TV

View Topic
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO objected to
01:33

Diversity in Television

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Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Darren Star on Sex and the City's Golden Globe and Emmy Award wins
02:29

First Big Break

View Topic
Darren Star on how his first industry job, as an assistant at the public relations firm Guttman & Pam, led to his first break: selling a film script to Warner Bros.
04:18
Darren Star on the serendipitous events early on his career that led to his first big break, including working at Showtime for Peter Chernin, who later became the decision maker on Beverly Hills, 90210 at Fox
03:09

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on Sex and the City winning the Emmy right after 9/11
01:25

LGBTQ

View Topic
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16

New Media

View Topic
Darren Star on Younger being on TV Land and the changing landscape of television
02:39

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Darren Star on how his first industry job, as an assistant at the public relations firm Guttman & Pam, led to his first break: selling a film script to Warner Bros.
04:18
Darren Star on the serendipitous events early on his career that led to his first big break, including working at Showtime for Peter Chernin, who later became the decision maker on Beverly Hills, 90210 at Fox
03:09

Pop Culture

View Topic
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on a memorable moment on Melrose Place: "Kimberly Shaw" taking off her wig
02:34

Sex & Violence

View Topic
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO objected to
01:33

Television Industry

View Topic
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on trusting your own instincts as a writer and not allowing the audience to influence your choices
02:16
Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO objected to
01:33
Darren Star on the challenges of having a show on a network versus cable
03:09
Darren Star on not allowing success to inhibit you in your career choices
01:02
Darren Star on Younger being on TV Land and the changing landscape of television
02:39
Darren Star on advice to aspiring writers
01:09
Professions

Show Creators

View Profession
Darren Star on the difference between being a screenwriter and being the creator/writer of a television show
06:08
Darren Star on adapting books for television
01:56

Writers

View Profession
Darren Star on trusting your own instincts as a writer and not allowing the audience to influence your choices
02:16
Darren Star on what he likes about writing
01:58
Darren Star on his writing process
01:35
Darren Star on advice to aspiring writers
01:09
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Darren Star on the impact of Melrose Place and its thematic connection to two of his other shows, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City
01:24
Darren Star on developing Sex and the City
04:53
Darren Star on casting Sex and the City
05:38
Darren Star on the Sex and the City writers room and the comedy of the show
04:08
Darren Star on having characters address the camera on Sex and the City, and eliminating the device in later seasons
01:22
Darren Star on how the writers plotted out the first season of Sex and the City
01:50
Darren Star on the intended audience for Sex and the City
02:12
Darren Star on the way sex was depicted on Sex and the City
01:52
Darren Star on his favorite gags and storylines on Sex and the City
01:28
Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO objected to
01:33
Darren Star on Chris Noth as "Mr. Big" on Sex and the City and the real-life inspiration for the character
02:22
Darren Star on the men of Sex and the City
07:39
Darren Star on the Sex and the City series finale
02:37
Darren Star on the legacy of Sex and the City
01:48
Darren Star on the themes of Younger, which is based on a book, and why he was interested in making it into a TV show
02:47
Darren Star on Younger being on TV Land and the changing landscape of television
02:39

Drama Series

View Genre
Darren Star on how Beverly Hills, 90210 was developed
10:40
Darren Star on why the school was called "West Beverly High" instead of "Beverly Hills High School" on Beverly Hills, 90210
00:40
Darren Star on developing the pilot of Beverly Hills, 90210 with Aaron Spelling 
00:47
Darren Star on wanting Beverly Hills, 90210 to be a more modern, honest take on being a teenager or "thirtysomething for teenagers"
02:32
Darren Star on casting Beverly Hills, 90210
08:53
Darren Star on why and how Beverly Hills, 90210 tackled social issues, particularly at the start of the series
02:00
Darren Star on controversial storylines on Beverly Hills, 90210, including "Brenda Walsh" sleeping with "Dylan McKay" in the first season's "Spring Dance" episode
04:17
Darren Star on Beverly Hills, 90210's rise to popularity
02:16
Darren Star on working with the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210
01:21
Darren Star on why Shannen Doherty left Beverly Hills, 90210
00:42
Darren Star on creating Melrose Place and its relationship to Beverly Hills, 90210
04:48
Darren Star on the censorship issues that arose on Melrose Place, particularly involving the character "Matt Fielding," who was gay
03:16
Darren Star on a memorable moment on Melrose Place: "Kimberly Shaw" taking off her wig
02:34
Darren Star on his favorite relationships and characters to write on Melrose Place
00:52
Darren Star on the legacy of Beverly Hills, 90210
02:15
Darren Star on the impact of Melrose Place and its thematic connection to two of his other shows, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Sex and the City
01:24
Darren Star on creating Central Park West
02:47
People

Chris Albrecht

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Darren Star on a Sex and the City gag that HBO executive Chris Albrecht objected to
01:33

Kim Cattrall

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Darren Star on casting Kim Cattrall as "Samantha Jones" on Sex and the City
01:30

Peter Chernin

View Person Page
Darren Star on the serendipitous events early on his career that led to his first big break, including working at Showtime for Peter Chernin, who later became the decision maker on Beverly Hills, 90210 at Fox
03:09

Kristin Davis

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Darren Star on casting Kristin Davis as "Charlotte York" on Sex and the City
00:20

Michael Patrick King

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Darren Star on the Sex and the City writers room, working with Michael Patrick King, and the comedy of the show
04:08

Cynthia Nixon

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Darren Star on casting Cynthia Nixon as "Miranda Hobbes" on Sex and the City
01:16

Chris Noth

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Darren Star on Chris Noth as "Mr. Big" on Sex and the City and the real-life inspiration for the character
02:22

Sarah Jessica Parker

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Darren Star on casting Sarah Jessica Parker as "Carrie Bradshaw" on Sex and the City
02:31

Luke Perry

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Darren Star on how and why Luke Perry's Beverly Hills, 90210 character, "Dylan McKay," was created
01:00

Jason Priestley

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Darren Star on casting Jason Priestley on Beverly Hills, 90210
01:24

Aaron Spelling

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Darren Star on his first meeting with Aaron Spelling
00:31
Darren Star on developing the pilot of Beverly Hills, 90210 with Aaron Spelling 
00:47
Darren Star on the style of Aaron Spelling's office
01:55
Darren Star on his break with Spelling Entertainment in 1995
01:30
Darren Star on Aaron Spelling acting as his mentor
01:08

Tori Spelling

View Person Page
Darren Star on Tori Spelling as "Donna Martin" on Beverly Hills, 90210
01:33

All Interviews

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