One Tree Hill is a popular American teen/young adult drama series created by Mark Schwahn that debuted on The WB on September 23, 2003 and ended in April 4, 2012 on The CW. The series follows the lives of half-brothers Lucas and Nathan who, originally, shared nothing in common except for the same father, Dan, and a love for basketball. Their lives became further complicated by the romantic entanglements caused by three girls - Peyton, Brooke and Haley. The show initially followed these five friends, and their group of friends, through High School and then into their adulthood. Nine seasons have aired on both the WB and the CW networks.
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 moved the film idea across to a television program. This was believed to be the best direction for the quite complex storylines.
The name of the show 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. The town was to be called Tree Hill and the name was mentioned by Karen Roee who said to Lucas that "there is only one Tree Hill, and it is your home".
After pitching the program, 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. Season 4 premiered on The CW network in 2006 on September 27. The show has since continued for several seasons ending with its ninth season in April 4, 2012.
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 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 a 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 him 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 the fans began to resent Peyton. This then forced them to focus Burton's character into the moral center of the show.
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 the 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 as a suitable performer for this character. Bethany was cast at an L.A. audition where she was not completley aware of the role ahead of her. Orginally reading for both Haley and Brooke, Joy really wanted to part of 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 as well 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 saw 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, 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 the show. 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 recieved 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 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. 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 and Cast
One Tree Hill has had 21 actors billed in starring roles throughout the nine years, as listed below.
- James Lafferty as Nathan Scott
- Bethany Joy Lenz as Haley James Scott
- Sophia Bush as Brooke Davis
- Austin Nichols as Julian Baker
- Paul Johansson as Dan Scott
- Robert Buckley as Clayton Evans
- Shantel VanSanten as Quinn James
- Jackson Brundage as Jamie Scott
- Lee Norris as Mouth McFadden
- Lisa Goldstein as Millicent Huxtable
- Stephen Colletti as Chase Adams
- Tyler Hilton as Chris Keller
Former Cast Members
- Craig Sheffer as Keith Scott
- Barry Corbin as Whitey Durham
- Danneel Harris as Rachel Gatina
- Moira Kelly as Karen Roe
- Chad Michael Murray as Lucas Scott
- Hilarie Burton as Peyton Sawyer
- Barbara Alyn Woods as Deb Lee
- Antwon Tanner as Antwon 'Skills' Taylor
- Jana Kramer as Alex Dupre
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 appearing of the actor.
In season 1, the following cast 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 inbetween Bush and Corbin. Season 3 saw the addition of Lee Norris which 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 is all 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 season 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. The titles reflect the character's progression throughout the show, especially for Nathan, Brooke, Haley and Mouth who have featured in the show since the beginning. This is done through a clip of the character in an early episode to a clip in a more recent episode.
All credits follow after recaps of previous episodes, if necessary.
On of the more tricker aspects to the show is the timeline Schwan has created for the show. Since the beginning of the show, all of the seasons have covered a total of 11 years approximatley.
Schwan originally planned the show to cover a year of high school through 2 seasons. This idea followed through with season 1 and 2 covering the character's lives at Tree Hill High and in their junior year. Season 3 and 4 continued this with these seasons covering the final year of high school and ending their time at the high school and graduating. Following the renewal of the show after season 4, Schwan decided not to cover the character's lives in college and instead follow the characters lives following their time in college.
Season 5 jumped 4 years into the future. Through this, a lot of changes had happened with the characters as well as in Tree Hill. Characters had departed their home town, others returned, many had successful lives and careers whereas others struggled to get through the day. This complicated the timeline more as characters were older and completely changed since their time in highschool. Season 6 followed on from season 5. Continuing the storylines of the characters and adding parts to their now adult lives. This however, changed for season 7.
After the departure of show regulars and principal cast, Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton, the show decided to skip another 14 months. This was explained to assist with the transition of Lucas and Peyton leaving Tree Hill and the rest of the characters continuing their life without them. The time jump also assisted the transition of new faces in the town, some who returned to the town and others who were new to the town but relevant to the character's lives. The finale episode of season 8 featured a time jump of a year to allow the audience to see Brooke's pregnancy and children. Season 9 started where season 8 left off and contained a 5 year time jump in the finale episode which showed the cast going to Jamie's basketball game.
Season Ratings and DVD Releases
One Tree Hill has been a well loved programme since season 1. After premering to shaky ratings, the show began to establish a good following of fans and had a very successful run in season 2. The following seasons kept the viewing numbers and recently, season 7 has taken a dip in the ratings which contined until the final season, but is still believed to be one of the CW network's most loved 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, 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 become central around the music theme was Peyton Sawyer. Peyton used music to release some of her most hidden and extreme emotions. She became a big fan of bands such as The Cure. This was also continued on when she helped open nightclub, Tric with Karen Roe which saw many artists performing. After her graduation of college, Peyton opened Red Bedroom Records which introduced new talent such as Mia Catalano. Mia was founded by Haley and Peyton when beginning Peyton's new label. After picking her from a band, Mia blossomed into a successful artist and has since recorded two albums and completed a tour. Another character that helped develop the music theme throughout the series is Haley James Scott. Since beginning to record in high school, Haley has completed two tours, including one 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 that 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 began dating 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 list of musical stars and guests that have appeared on the show, see here
Since beginning 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.