Recasting the original Billy on 'Melrose Place'

Thursday, 08 October 2015 12:11 PM Written by 


Last week I wrote about lifetime's "Unauthorized Story" movies about "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose Place," and I noted that the "Melrose Place" movie (pictured above), premiering at 8 p.m. Saturday, gets the name of the actor who was originally cast as Billy wrong.

For some reason the film calls the recast Canadian actor Stephen Dale, but his name is actually Stephen Fanning who played Billy for a few days during production of the "Melrose Place" pilot before being replaced by Andrew Shue. I'm not sure if this was an oversight or if there was some legal reason for changing the name. (The movie says he was fired because he had a flabby belly, which just wouldn't work for a show like "MP" with all its bed-hopping.)

How did I know this piece of obscure trivia? My favorite part of the now ancient history book I wrote about Generation X and television was the inclusion of a cast photo from "Melrose" that was shot early in production of the pilot, before Fanning was fired. See that photo after the jump. ...

Recasting is why networks are smarter to hold off on sending out a posed, full cast photo until after pilot production and testing is complete. Here's the page from my book with Fanning seated, appropriately as it turned out, on the lowest step:

Melrose cast photo robs book

The original "Melrose Place" is available via streaming service Amazon Prime.


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