Launching a new soap opera is always a risk – particularly if the channel is more known for Friends reruns than a commitment to scripted drama.
Still, Nick at Nite is jumping into the prime-time soap game with Hollywood Heights, airing every weeknight at 9 p.m., sandwiched between repeats of those old sitcoms. Based on a popular Mexican telenovela, Alcanzar una Estrella, the drama offers a mix of pleasantly forgettable story lines and characters who never add up to anything more than a soap opera for beginners show.
As with many scripted dramas, theres no lack of unintended comedy. Following the scandalous world of a group of teens, their parents, dysfunctional celebrities and wannabe stars in Los Angeles, the show lands somewhere between amusing way to pass the time and just not worth it on the scale of summer TV guilty pleasures.
Packed with every cliché about the entertainment industry, Hollywood Heights introduces us to Loren (Brittany Underwood), a naïve high school senior who gets straight As, is respectful to her mom and harbors a scary, obsessive crush on rock star Eddie Duran (Cody Longo). Eddie, the 20-something son of a famous singing duo, is as blandly attractive as they come, but he can sure write a catchy hook – and its earned him more Twitter followers than Ashton Kutcher.
It all manages to come pretty easily for Eddie. He is apparently a superstar, although instead of an entourage, he travels with a one-man band manager, Jake (Brandon Bell), and girlfriend, Chloe (Melissa Ordway). Jake neglects his wife to follow Eddie around, and Chloe, an aspiring famous person, is biding her time for a ring.
Nick at Nite aired the pilot every weeknight last week to attract viewers; the show officially launched Monday. It seems unlikely that a sizable audience will tune in after the comfort food that is Friends reruns. At the least, its the kind of show thats easy to follow no matter when you tune in. Plus, James Franco pops up with a multiepisode arc in a few weeks, playing an eccentric movie mogul. And during the summer TV season, sometimes mindless programming and a random celebrity guest star is all anyone really needs.