New 90210 Showrunner Dumps Hunky Good Guy for Hunky Bad Boy

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90210's new bad boy Liam (Matt Lanter) lands a TKO punch on good guy Ethan (Dustin Milligan). Photo: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images

When the CW initially rebooted the 90210 franchise last fall, there was a careful strategy in place to balance plotlines and airtime between the show's newbie cast members and the returning characters from the beloved original incarnation (Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, and, of course, Joe E. Tata). However, as the season wore on, there were some tense moments behind the scenes as to what direction the show should be taking in order to continue to grow its audience. Not surprisingly, the young kids won out. As a result, original executive producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah were shown the door decided to exit the show, leaving Gilmore Girls veteran Rebecca Rand Kirshner in charge of running it. And now, after recently signing a two-year contract extension, RRK is exerting her influence on the show by firing the show's clean-cut, good-guy hunk Ethan (Dustin Milligan) and beefing up the presence of the hell-raising, bad-boy hunk Liam (Matt Lanter). Scandal in the halls of West Beverly, y'all!

Actually, when you think about it, poor Dustin Milligan never stood a chance. Although his character arc began with him getting an illicit blow job in the parking lot of West Bev from someone other than his girlfriend, his character quickly devolved into a lapdog when he started dating the show's lead character, Annie (Shenae Grimes). To RRK's credit, she quickly recognized that this vanilla character wasn't appealing to young women, mainly because he couldn't hold a candle to the likes of Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass. So, in order to combat this, she introduced a classic "outsider" type into the cast named Liam, whom she based loosely off Christian Slater's Happy Harry Hard-On character in Pump Up the Volume. "He’s an iconoclast, and initially, a cipher,” Sinclair explained. "Darker than Dylan." Darker than Dylan? Sign us up!

And just like that, Milligan will soon find himself out of a job while Lanter has been put in a position to become one of the CW's next big names. Ain't Hollywood grand?

'90210' preview: Meet the ZIP Code's mysterious new bad boy Liam [Show Tracker/LAT]
'90210' shocker: Leading man Milligan to exit [Ausiello Files/EW]