What Went Wrong With ‘Hollywood Heights’

This past summer, Nickelodeon attempted to do something different by launching their first telenovela, Hollywood Heights, on the Nick@Nite block. The series was promoted heavily as “Nick@Nite’s first Family Drama” but viewers quickly found out that it wasn’t so much a “family” drama as it was the story of eighteen year old Loren Tate (Brittany Underwood) and her rise to stardom with the other characters supporting this story and occasionally having smaller storylines that played out throughout the series eighty episode run.

Now that the series is headed towards a conclusion, I wanted to take a moment and examine where I feel Nick dropped the ball on the series, and what could have been done to change things around.

The Music

Since the series initial preview began earlier this summer, the thing that interested viewers more than any of the acting talent or writing of the show was the series catchy melodies, but instead of monopolizing upon this by releasing the tracks directly to iTunes, Amazon, or selling directly via Nick.com we received no way in which to legally acquire any of the series official tracks, much less the really interesting songs that would play in the background by relatively unknown artist. By making this music legally available fans could have helped support the series monetarily while getting to enjoy and share the series with others through the power of music.

Merchandising and other ancillary rights

So I already mentioned music above, because I feel music unto itself is something that deserved to be sold, but after that the series could have easily manipulated fans by playing up the Team Eddie, Team Max, Team _insert name here_, fanbase by creating print-on-demand t-shirts sold exclusively through the Nick.com website. What better way to promote your series then by having fans wearing walking billboards for it? While I don’t think I’d personally be rocking a “Team Eddie!” shirt, a standard “Hollywood Heights” shirt would be something I’d easily add into my wardrobe.

With that said music and t-shirts are not the only ways to make money. Why not hire an aspiring novelist to transform the Eddie/Loren saga into a short novel tie-in series? As each month (20 episodes) were completed why not use Amazon‘s Create Space program to manufacture print-on-demand DVD’s so fans that do not have high speed internet can purchase the series and still enjoy every soapy moment?

Airing on TeenNick from the start

When Nick decided to start airing Hollywood Heights on Nick@Nite I kinda felt that they were targeting the wrong demographic with the show. Hollywood Heights felt like it would have been a perfect fit on TeenNick where the network could air daily repeats during the afternoon, and provide a good lead in for Degrassi: The Next Generation. However, by the time that Nick@Nite declared Hollywood Heights essentially a failed experiment and shipped it off over to TeenNick the damage to the brand had already been done. With a short run serial such as Hollywood Heights consistency is key, and expecting viewers to move from one network to another was unrealistic, the series lost roughly 200k or more viewers, and was never able to reclaim its spot because the new viewers in the age that Hollywood Heights was really written for simply didn’t care to jump into the middle of the story.

The Writing

Okay I will be honest the first three things listed above are very business oriented, because this is more about what Nick did wrong, but the blame cannot be laid completely upon the network, as the writing for the series was a bit lack luster to begin with.

While I was captivated by the star crossed lovers storyline, the series never, in my opinion, got to hit its true stride because they were constantly holding back for what appears to be fear of alienating their audience.  The series could have done amazing stuff by having Chloe Carter become the equivalent of Melrose Place’s Amanda Woodward, scheming, manipulative, and always getting her way. Instead Chloe was insecure, whiney, and her ‘schemes’ always lacked the real “OMG” factor that the show desperately needed.  Then there are issues such as Lisa/Beth/Melissa and how for a majority of the series due to the lack of focus on this story I absolutely hated the character of Lisa, because her actions were so over the top that I got to the point that I didn’t care what the rationalization was  I was simply “over it,” and surely enough by the time everything was revealed, the damage to the character had, in my opinion, been done and I couldn’t bring myself to ‘care’ for the character like I wish I could. With that said however, I did like the shift that occurred with the character of Lisa during the last 15 episodes of the series.

Without going into it too much, I will just say that the last story arc on the program, really annoyed me also, because while there were some plot driven elements to the story prior, the whole build up and execution of the “farm” storyline was so plot driven, and so crazy that I simply zoned out and didn’t care because it lacked any sense of realism, but hey that’s just me.

I TRULY wish this show would have been the success it could have been. I LOVE the cast, the crew, and the whole concept behind Hollywood Heights. I applaud Nick for taking a chance and trying something new. I just wish they would have gone ALL OUT towards making this show a success, and that the quality of the show would have been deserving of such a media blitz.

What did you guys think? Do you think Nick really did do all they could to support the series? (Putting the series out on iTunes, Amazon, on their website for viewers who do not have TeenNick, etc) Did you feel the writing for the series was strong? Am I just completely crazy? OR do you agree with me? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.wahl1 Y2Jin99

    1000 views? lol that is nothing. 1000 views where?

  • Amber

    Hollywood heights was amazing and I can’t believe they stopped it

  • tammy

    I miss hollywood heights we need a season 2 please do a second season

  • Layla

    I love hollywood heights it hod mor than 1000 views and u people stopped the show that was so crazy

  • Tina

    I agree I wish that a second season would come out

  • Kelly

    I MISS Hollywood Heights! I absolutely love this show!
    I agree with you that the should have branded there name more with apparel. Also, when the show was first premiering I head nothing of it until it switch networks. I feel they could have advertised a bit better. Not to mention the just ended the first season, no mention of a second season or if the show was just done. The show has been off-air for a year now and still no mention if teen-nick will be making a DVD of season one.

  • Mhmd

    Wow, one year has past, since this show has finished, and today am reading this article..
    I guess that for their first telenovela nick has done well, for the things that really surprise us such music issue (spending time watching Youtube instead of purchasing original tracks) and yes T-shirts, they can afford it, just if they make anothe asm season!

  • lane

    I absolutlly love this show!! I agree it could have been better laid out. I was in love with the music too and actually did try to find it yesterday to download but couldn’t. I think you were right about switching networks like they did, it cause a problem for a lot of people who watched. I totally would have been one of the people who bought a hh tee if they made them. I think that some parts of the story were slightly rushed and could have made a great subplot. i wished that the ending would have been a little better and shown hve everyone endded not just loren and eddie. that’s just my opinion though. so yeah i agree with you on almost all of your points.

  • Tee

    I know this article is old but wanted to respond and say I agree with most of what you said. I had been watching this with my daughter and she would have loved the music, and shirt idea etc.The network switch hurt many because they did not have the other Nick channel due to their provider not having it due to negotiations with them.I did like the show but the ending lacked a certain something and my daughter did hope it continued but sadly for her I guess that was it