'Life Unexpected' and 'One Tree Hill' face the music in crossover event
When Haley and Mia ( Kate Voegele) take a trip to Portland to perform at the Sugar Magnolia festival that Cate's ( Shiri Appleby) radio station is promoting, CW worlds collide.
Though Haley is initially reluctant to take the stage, her hesitation is short-lived after Mia announces her.
"Life Unexpected" executive producer Liz Tigelaar also had a brief a moment of hesitation when the idea of a crossover was first presented to her. "I wasn't sure how it'd work," she told Zap2it when we stopped by the set to watch the "Life Unexpected" and "One Tree Hill" stars take the stage. "I didn't want it to be cheesy, and I'm sure [the "One Tree Hill" team] didn't want it to be cheesy."
Mark Schwahn, executive producer of "One Tree Hill," had plenty of faith in Tigelaar. "I'm a big fan of [Life Unexpected] and I think Liz is great. I actually wanted her to come write for our show a while back," he admits. "I wasn't worried about putting our characters in her hands. If anything, she may have been worried, since our girls are kind of invading her world, not the other way around."
It also helps that Tigelaar has Adele Lim on her writing staff -- Lim used to write for "One Tree Hill," so she's familiar with the characters' voices."Mark is so easy to work with," Tigelaar says. "And with Adele on staff, we made sure that everyone sounded right."
"Basically, the network wanted to do this crossover," Tigelaar says, "and I was like, we either need to do it now or we need to wait til the back nine. And since Joy is four months pregnant, on the show and in real life, we figured we'd better do it sooner rather than later. Plus, we're hoping that bringing in some of their audience will help us get that back nine."
This week, a ratings bump in the 18-34 demographic (from 1.1 last week to 1.6) gave fans some hope for the family drama's chances at a full-season pickup. Currently, the episode order stands at 13 episodes, and though more "Hellcats" and "One Tree Hill" scripts have been ordered, "Life Unexpected" continues to dangle in television limbo.
"Nothing has ever been easy for us. We've always, always had to sweat it out for this show," says Tigelaar hopefully. "I know that we'll all have to wait until the last possible second, we'll all be afraid we're being canceled. The way this show's gone we always kind of squeak by at the end, so I'm hoping it'll happen again."
This is the first-ever crossover event for The CW, and it couldn't come at a better time. "Our shows have a lot in common, tonally, but I didn't know what our characters would have in common," says Tigelaar. "It was just so weird, because we were doing this story line about where Cate and Ryan are in their relationship and how their goals for the future might be different, and when we found out what was going on on 'One Tree Hill,' there was just so much that was applicable."
It will definitely make for an interesting meeting between Haley and Cate, since Haley is pregnant with her second child and Cate is sneaking birth control pills behind her husband's back. Despite that obvious difference, the two have a laundry list of similarities.
"It's funny, because when we created the character of Tasha, she was originally called Vanessa, but they told us we couldn't do that because there's a dark-haired Vanessa on 'Gossip Girl,'" Tigelaar says. "And then I find out that Cate and Haley have so much in common, it's insane. They both were valedictorians, kind of dorky in high school, got pregnant in high school, had the baby, and they were impregnated by athletes named Nate. Only the sport was different, although we're doing this whole Baze basketball storyline now."
Appleby says that Galeotti's visit to Vancouver was a reunion of sorts.
"She's so sweet, so cute. It's funny, because when Joy came in she reminded me that we had shot pilots next to each other when we were 17," Appleby remembers. "It is a very big business but at the same time it's a very small business. That was 14 years ago!"
As Cate asks Haley for advice, Appleby got some off-screen tips from Galeotti as well. "We're such a new show, kind of struggling to get on our feet, and Joy is on the other side of the coin. She's done so well and they're on their eighth season now. It was so great to talk to her about how she balances the life of being on a long-running show, being far away from home all the time, all of that."
Galeotti and Voegele will be joined on stage by the legendary Sarah McLachlan, plus fan favorite Ben Lee and the "Life Unexpected" theme song artist, Rain Perry. "I'd seen Kate Voegele open for Ben Lee like years ago at the El Ray in L.A., so to have them both here is just incredible," Tigelaar gushes.
"Sarah McLachlan sang my high school graduation song!" Appleby adds. "'I Will Remember You.' She's the most down-to-earth person you'll ever meet, too, so that was just amazing."
Follow Zap2it and @cadlymack on Twitter and Zap2it on Facebook for the latest TV, movie and celebrity news.
Photo credit: CW