One Tree Hill Wiki
One Tree Hill Wiki

One Tree Hill is a popular American teen/young adult drama series created by Mark Schwahn.

The series aired from September 23rd, 2003 to April 4th, 2012.


One Tree Hill follows the lives of paternal half-brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott, who, originally, shared nothing in common except for the same father, Dan Scott, and a love for basketball. Their lives become more complicated by the romantic entanglements of the two with three girls: Peyton Sawyer, Brooke Davis, and Haley James. The show follows the lives of these five characters (nicknamed "The Core Five" because of this reason) and their group of friends through high school and then into their adulthood.


Originally, the show was planned to be a feature-length movie. Creator Mark Schwahn had the idea planned out that he was to create a film titled Ravens. This was to be the basis of a film about basketball, two half brothers, and their lives. However, after more planning and possible future considerations, Schwahn decided to discard the "movie idea", turning the project into a television series. This was believed to be the best direction for the quite complex storylines.

The name of the project was changed from Ravens to One Tree Hill by Schwahn after his interest in the band U2 and the fondness of their song One Tree Hill featured on their album, The Joshua Tree. This is also the reason why the town is called Tree Hill and the series’ name is mentioned in the first season finale when Karen Roe, the mother of the main male protagonist Lucas Scott, says to him, «There is only one Tree Hill... and it's your home.» .

After pitching the TV series, interest was shown from channel network The WB. The Warner Bros. Network premiered the series in 2003 on September 23. In 2006, The WB was merged with UPN to make a new network channel, The CW, and the show was picked up to be shown by the network. The fourth season premiered on The CW network in 2006 on September 27. One Tree Hill concluded its run on April 4, 2012, with its ninth season.


After getting the green light from the network WB for the show, Schwahn and his team had to come up with a hard working, highly talented cast.

The first actor that the team considered in detail for a role in the show was Chad Michael Murray. Murray was originally wanted to play Nathan by Schwahn due to Murray's background of playing the "bad guy" in many other acting roles. However, as the team had many disagreements over the actor playing either Lucas or Nathan, Chad then shared his interest in the character of Lucas and his relation to the character, which Chad described as a lot like his own life. This ultimately decided his role.

After Chad chose to play Lucas, the team began looking for Nathan. Through this, they came across James Lafferty who was not an initial choice and was a dark horse to get the part. This was aided by his having more experience in basketball than actual acting. After some auditions, James was given notes on his acting and the directors did not see him as suitable for the role. They called him back to five or six auditions and eventually brought him to the network, as they had no other person to play the part. However, when James returned to the network for his day of acting, all the crew were blown away by his acting, gaining him the role of Nathan Scott.

Hilarie Burton was originally seen auditioning for 'Radio', after working as a television host for MTV. After being recognized for her work and her'special' quality, Burton was picked to play Peyton. Schwahn was surprised by the reaction to this troubled character, as she was mixed-received by some viewers. This then led to focusing Peyton on the moral center of the show, and the character's initial crankiness was eventually toned down as she was revealed to have a deeper side and her interaction with Lucas and Haley started to win over viewers.

With three of the main cast members found, show producers began to realize there was not enough humor in the show, which was eventually brought in the form of Sophia Bush. Sophia was cast as Brooke, which added a dimension of fun to the show. The free-spirited cheerleader is thought to be what brought the fans closer to the show. However, half way through the season, Sophia also went through a big change when her character's feelings were tested to the limit and Sophia got to show a whole different side to Brooke Davis and her acting skills.

To add to the cast was a character called Reagan. This character was to play Lucas' best friend and was cast in the first scene. However, Schwahn and other crew members decided Reagan was not suitable for the show and searched again for a new best friend for Lucas, and she was named Haley. The team found Bethany Joy Lenz to be a suitable performer for this character. Bethany was cast at an L.A. audition where she was not completely aware of the role ahead of her. Originally reading for both Haley and Brooke, Joy really wanted the part about Haley. Since receiving the part, Joy has admitted that she read Brooke's part the way Haley would read it due to her determination to land the role of Haley, something which paid off. Schwahn has commented on Joy's electricity on set and the choices she makes to make the scenes as good as possible.

As well as the younger principal cast, Mark Schwahn felt it was necessary to focus some time on the adult world to show the audience that it does not end after high school. The team worked together to gather together some very talented actors. Craig Sheffer who a crew member had seen in 'A River Runs Through It' was cast as Keith Scott and has admitted that what drew him to Keith was that he was a portrayal of the average American from a small town, like Sheffer himself. Moira Kelly was cast as Lucas' loving mom, Karen Roe.

After starring in shows such as The West Wing, the cast and crew were honored to have her join the cast. Moira admitted her worries when she found out she was pregnant after filming the pilot, as even if the show was picked up, she wondered if she would still be able to be part of it. Luckily, Schwahn wanted to keep her in the show and work around the pregnancy. Brian Robbins knew Paul Johansson many years before even thinking about One Tree Hill. Johansson was hired as Dan Scott. Like Dan, Paul was a good basketball player when he was younger and was able to relate to the role well. Barbara Alyn Woods received a script to read when the show began auditioning for the role of Deb Lee. According to Woods, she read three pages of the script and decided she wanted to be a part of the show, and she admittedly liked Deb's all-roundness of working, being a mom, and being a vixen. Finally, Barry Corbin makes up the cast and is known for the many roles he has played. The cast and crew, including James Lafferty were big fans of Barry, and one of the crew members, Brian Robbins, took Corbin round to his house to play basketball and discuss the part. Corbin ended up winning the game as well as winning the part of Whitey Durham.

Cast and Characters[]

Main Article: Characters

Opening Titles[]

One Tree Hill original opening credits

Series intertitle, seasons 1–4 and 8

Linking in with the importance of music in the show, the song I Don't Wanna Be by Gavin DeGraw became the theme tune to the show in seasons one through four. Gavin DeGraw later made an appearance on the show as a musical guest as well as returning to the show to sing the theme tune with show star Jamie Scott. Season eight brought back the theme song, but was sang by various artists each episode.

As well as the theme tune, the titles feature many key images from the series. The titles always include Lucas walking across the bridge, dribbling his basketball. This was featured in the first episode and was one of the first scenes to be broadcast. As well as this, there are important happenings from the season that often reflect the character's lives, friendships, and relationships. Cast are credited throughout the titles, with individual shots of the actor.

In season 1, the following cast members are credited in the following order: Chad Michael Murray, James Lafferty, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Paul Johansson, Sophia Bush, Barry Corbin, Craig Sheffer, and Moira Kelly. In season 2, Barbara Alyn Woods was placed in between Bush and Corbin. Season 3 saw the addition of Lee Norris, who was placed between Woods and Corbin. In season 4, Sheffer was removed as a cast member and Antwon Tanner and Danneel Harris were placed in the titles between Norris and Corbin.

After the time jump, season five saw a change in the opening titles. Instead of the usual credits, only "One Tree Hill" shows up behind a black background. The music is removed from the titles, as are all the acting credits which appear after the opening title.

Season 8 showed a return to the original format and featured Gavin DeGraw's I Don't Wanna Be in a title sequence for the first time since the time jump. The title sequence shows the major cast changes between seasons six and seven, with the titles now featuring James Lafferty, Bethany Joy Galeotti, Sophia Bush, Austin Nichols, Robert Buckley, Shantel Van Santen, Jackson Brundage, Jana Kramer, Lee Norris and Lisa Goldstein.

All credits follow after recaps of previous episodes, if necessary.


One of the trickier aspects of the show is the timeline. Even though the show aired over the course of 9 years, the series follows the characters’ lives in a span of over 10 years.

Schwahn originally planned the show to cover a year of high school through 2 seasons. This idea followed through with seasons 1 and 2, covering the character's lives at Tree Hill High in their junior year. Seasons 3 and 4 continued this scheme, covering, together, the senior year of high school and culminating with the main characters’ graduation.

Following the renewal of the show after season 4, Schwahn decided not to follow the characters’ lives through college because he wanted the actors to play more or less their actual age as they were clearly aging and he also felt they’d already done most of the typical college storylines while still narrating the high school years, By doing this, he also allowed more freedom with the plot since they could pick up with the characters returning to Tree Hill after college and they would be able to jump right into Jamie starting school rather than having him age naturally. So, for season 5, it was decided to jump four and a half years into the future, when the characters had already graduated from college and were entering their young adulthood: by doing this, the show was completely retooled but didn’t lose its core and its new version kept being successful.

After the departure of series regulars and main actors Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton, who left for good at the end of season 6, the show decided to jump one year into the future in the season 7 premiere. This was done to help the audience familiarize with the new asset of the series, which saw the remaining characters continuing their lives without Lucas and Peyton and the arrival of some new entries to replace them.

The finale episode of season 8 covered an entire year to allow the audience to see Brooke's pregnancy and the birth of her and Julian’s children.

Finally, season 9 started one year after season 8 left off and also contained another time jump of several years in the finale episode which showed the cast going to watch one of Jamie's basketball matches in high school.

Season Ratings and DVD Releases[]

Although premiering to shaky ratings, One Tree Hill's viewing numbers began to pick up very quickly, and, by the end of season 1, the series became one of The WB's most successful shows. the first six seasons kept reaching good and satisfying results in terms of viewers and ratings. Then, starting from season 7 until the end, the show took a huge dip in viewing numbers and ratings (mostly due to the departures of show regulars and main actors Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton and what's generally considered by most a big drop in terms of quality). Despite this, the series is still considered one of The WB/The CW network's most loved and successful shows.

The show has also released 9 seasons onto DVD.

For a detailed view of season ratings and DVD information, see here.


Music is a central theme for the characters of One Tree Hill. Not only do many musical guests appear on the show, but it is also an important aspect of character's lives. The show often uses music to blend many shots together to represent the different character's lives. As well as this, each episode is named after a song and often relates to the mood and happening of each episode.

One character who's become central to the music theme is Peyton Sawyer. Peyton uses music to release some of her most hidden and extreme emotions. She's become a big fan of bands such as The Cure. This also continues when she helps to open a nightclub with Karen Roe and Tric, which has seen many artists perform. After the time jump between seasons 4 and 5, Peyton opens her own record label, Red Bedroom Records, which introduces new talent such as Mia Catalano, who is founded by Haley and Peyton when beginning Peyton's new label and then becomes its leading artist. After being picked by a band, Mia blossoms into a successful singer and has since recorded two albums and completed a tour. Another character who has helped to develop the music theme throughout the series is Haley James Scott. Since beginning to record in high school, Haley has gone on two tours of her own, the first with Chris Keller. Haley tends to record for fun as well as delivering an inspirational message through her message.

Tree Hill has also seen the appearance of many different artists who have shared their music with the show, storylines, and characters. Often, artists would play in places such as Tric, Karen's Cafe and more recently, Red Bedroom Records. Some artists stay in the show for a number of episodes to create a story among other characters. Nick Lachey appeared in season 6 to record one of Haley's songs and Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy made an appearance in season 3 and briefly dated Peyton. Some musical artists appear as characters other than themselves. For example, Tyler Hilton appeared as Chris Keller and Kate Voelege as Mia Catalano.

For a detailed list of musical stars and guests that have appeared on the show, see here.

Since the beginning of the show, 3 albums have been created as a side project to the television series. Two of these albums are compilations that appeared a big part of the character's lives and featured some songs that are unavailable in other contexts. All the music was also featured in the series. The other album was a key part to the season 2 storylines. The album was titled 'Friends With Benefits' and was made in the series as a contribution towards breast cancer as Peyton's mom had cancer. This was also applicable outside of the show as copies of the CD supported breast cancer.

Show Sponsorship and Out of Film References[]

Since One Tree Hill begun, some products have became a sponsor of the show. This leads to placement of the products in the show and can be seen through certain series.

Sunkist is a recurring product in the show. Many characters drink Sunkist throughout the series as well as it appearing in other places. The drinks are placed in the school vending machines as well as it sponsoring gigs of the show to make the sponsorship more noticed by fan watchers in the hope of fans wanting to drink Sunkist. Sunkist was also able to hold a competition for a group of people to enter a contest for One Tree Hill to visit their town. Many entries were made and a small town in Texas, called Honeygrove won the competition. The show visited the town and filmed the episode, 'It Gets the Worst at Night'. The teenagers that entered are also featured at the prom the characters attend. Outside of filming, some cast members also joined the group of friends to watch the show together.

AT&T os a cell phone company that is also a heavily featured sponsor of the show. The network, formally known as Cingular, is what most characters use on their cell phone. Like Sunkist, AT&T also allowed fans to contribute to the show. Instead of a competition, AT&T allowed fans to make decisions about the shows plot. The decisions included whether Nathan and Taylor should kiss in 'The Lonesome Road', which song should be played at Haley and Nathan's wedding in 'The Show Must Go On' and what song band should be played at Tree Hill High's senior prom. The band chosen was 'Within Reason' and was featued in 'Prom Night at Hater High.'

Nike appears many times in the show. The Ravens basketball team at Tree Hill High wear jerseys and shoes that are sponsored by the brand Nike. A number of Nike associated athletes are made reference to through the show, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Outside of filming, Nike provided all film crew with Nike sweater vests during the production of season 5.

In 'Can't Stop This Thing We Started,' Rachel is given the opportunity to go to a photoshoot for Maxim. This also happened in real life. The photo that was printed of Rachel was featured in the Maxim magazine of actress, Danneel Harris. As well as Harris appearing in the photoshoot, Hilarie Burton and Sophia Bush joined her on the front cover. The issue became available for purchase on October 14, 2005.

In 'All These Things That I've Done', a competition was held by America's Next Top Model where the winner was able to play a small role. The winner was CariDee English and played the character model, Tia. Macy's also got to hold a competition for the show where the winner was able to appear on the show, see the production and appear in a charity event. In 'Hate Is Safer Than Love,' Mia records a message for the 'Rock the Vote' campaign, which actually existed. The artist was also given the opportunity to go on a Starburst tour.