"Dawson's Creek" is now filming the finale for its third season. In addition to the usual cliff-hanging suspense, there is a twist in the works -- a spinoff series that will premiere this summer on the WB network. Producers hope the fans of one high- school drama will start following another.
The star of the new show, Rodney Scott, has come to Wilmington, N.C., where "Dawson's Creek" is filmed, to appear in three of Creek's last four episodes this season before moving on to "Young Americans."
Most spinoffs use established characters to start the new show, but that is not the case for "Young Americans." "Melrose Place" had a similar start from "Beverly Hills, 90210" -- with an introduced character starring in the new show. This is called a cross promotion, said series creator, Steven Antin. "It's not a spinoff."
"Young Americans" is set at a New England boarding school -- just a few fictional hours' drive from Dawson's Capeside. Antin got the idea for the series while driving in New England. At a gas station, he spotted prep school boys flirting with some local girls.
The pilot for the series was filmed last April. It wasn't picked up for this season, but studio executives had the idea to do a cross promotion with "Dawson's Creek," which also is on WB.
Scott's character (Will Krudski) is a long-lost friend of Joshua Jackson's character (Pacey). Because his home life is troubling, Will decides to pay a visit to Capeside. There he meets the Dawson's Creek buddies -- and develops a strong friendship with Meredith Monroe's character (Andie McPhee).
Exactly how close, Monroe said, fans will have to wait and see. Scott filmed his final Creek appearance last week. It included a scene where he tells Andie he is leaving Capeside.
The cross promotion continues with a possible appearance by the Creek cast on the new show -- maybe Joshua or Andie will make that two-hour drive to the boarding school, Raley Academy, that is the main setting of "Young Americans," Monroe said.
The story line of the new series has a lot of popular themes -- blue-blooded rich kids vs. local townies, a young men's school across the river from a young women's school, and coming of age in a difficult situation.
A definite air date has not been set, but fans should look for "Young Americans" in June.
PRIMARY COVERAGE: PCNC will offer live coverage of the Pennsylvania primary tomorrow from 8 to 10 p.m.
David Johnson and Peggy Finnegan will anchor the broadcast, with "NightTalk" host John McIntire interviewing political analysts.
City of Pittsburgh cable customers can tune to PCTV, Channel 21, tomorrow at 4 p.m. for an hour of call-in questions with candidates.
Catherine Baker Knoll (state treasurer candidate), William J. Coyne (congressional representative candidate, 14th district), Erin L. Connolly and William Russell Robinson (general assembly candidates, 19th district), and Harry T. Lewellen and Michael Diven (general assembly candidates, 22nd district) are expected to participate.
(Rob Owen, PG TV editor)
FOX PRE-EMPTIONS: Don't go looking for "Ally McBeal" at 9 on WPGH tonight. Regular programming on Channel 53 will be displaced from 7 to 10 p.m. for broadcast of the final Pirates home opener at Three Rivers Stadium.
"Drew Carey" and "Seinfeld," usually airing from 7 to 8 p.m., will be pre-empted. "That '70s Show" will air Saturday at 6 p.m., followed by "Titus" at 6:30. Both offer original episodes. "Ally McBeal" is a rerun and will air tonight at 11.
FYI "Ally" fans: Last week's episode, featuring the death of Billy, will be repeated April 10. Look for Lisa Nicole Carson to return to the series in the April 24 episode.
(Rob Owen, PG TV editor)