It turns out Oakland, not Berkeley, was the original setting for NBC’s new drama Parenthood, premiering tonight. And the lovely people of the city next door are not happy that Oakland will miss out on the prime time exposure.
The lines in the pilot episode, “Berkeley is a living hell! I’m not moving there!” originally were “Oakland is a living hell! I’m not moving there!”
This scoop comes from CJ Hirschfield, the executive director of Children’s Fairyland, a 10-acre fantasy park for kids in Oakland. A number of scenes in the pilot were shot at Fairyland, and Hirschfield called the show’s executive producer and head writer to find out how Berkeley got substituted for Oakland.
Apparently, when Maura Tierney, one of the show’s actresses, had to withdraw for medical reasons, the producers had to reshoot some scenes. An early shot of the Oakland Police Department got cut, removing the necessity to set the show in Oakland.
“It’s not like we said ‘forget Oakland,’” said Jason Katims, the executive producer. “We just needed to choose one town that we would reference so people wouldn’t be confused about all of the families we’re following in the series.”
Hirschfield is hoping that the birthday scene shot at the entrance to Fairyland – which prominently displayed the park’s name – still remains. If Parenthood can’t be set in Oakland, at least Fairyland, a non-profit agency, will get a little exposure.
Hirschfield won’t know for sure until tonight when she puts on a formal gown and goes to the beautifully renovated Fox Theater in downtown Oakland. The Oakland Film Office is hosting a party for the 10 pm premiere.
“It’s going to be Oakland grasping at straws desperately wanting to be noticed, despite being edited out,” joked Hirschfield.
Well, Berkeley may get the exposure in the pilot, but the rest of the series will be shot in Los Angeles.