“One Tree Hill” boss Mark Schwahn early in the season, he told us that he was approaching Season 8 as the show’s final bow. “Do I think that this is our final season? Right now, my instinct says yes,” he said. “But anything can happen.”
Well, OTHers, we’ve got some potentially great news for you. We just got off the phone with Schwahn, and he’s singing a whole new tune. “I think we all really enjoyed this season, and when I say ‘we’ I mean the cast, and the producers, and everybody,” he tells Zap2it. “I think that there’s real interest in Season 9 from the studio and network.”
There’s interest from viewers, too. Zap2it asked whether you’d like to keep or kill certain “on-the-bubble” CW shows, and a majority of you have voted to keep “One Tree Hill” on the schedule.
“I don’t know if it’ll happen,” Schwahn says, noting that The CW will have to make up their minds after they’ve seen the pilots they’ve ordered. “There are a million reasons why they pick up a show or don’t pick it up, but I think in terms of ratings and in terms of our creative scope this year, I think the show was great. We would absolutely do it again if they want us. I should just say ‘I’ would absolutely do it again, if they want to.”
Another factor, of course, is cast participation. The actors — most notably series veterans Sophia Bush, Bethany Joy Galeotti, and James Lafferty — are not under contract going into Season 9, so there are negotiations that would have to happen. (And, as long time fans know, those negotiations didn’t go so well with former co-stars Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton.)
“That stuff is always kind of tricky,” Schwahn says. “The good news is, I don’t think there’s anyone who would absolutely not come back. There’s no one in the cast who would say ‘I have no interest in coming back.’”
Schwahn, who wrote all five of the as-yet unaired Season 8 episodes, says that the cast, crew, and producers felt reinvigorated by the stories in the episodes to come and that everyone feels that there are stories left to be told. “In the final 5 episodes, I think the cast and the crew were invigorated by the work we were doing,” he tells us. “By the end of the season, people felt – and I think rightfully so – that we’re still making really good shows and we’re still having fun doing it.”
If Season 9 does happen, there will inevitably be backlash from those who think that the show has gone on long enough. It’s not something Schwahn is unfamiliar with, but it is something he doesn’t quite understand. “I’m always surprised by people who think that we’re beating a dead horse or that it’s somehow wrong to continue to make episodes of ‘One Tree Hill,’” he says. “I heard a little pushback last year about how we were being greedy by continuing to make the show, and I don’t get that. I love the show. These are characters that I created and am proud of, and we’re still telling stories that we enjoy.”
We’ve got more news coming for you from Mark Schwahn, but in the meantime, we’ll leave you with some teasers. In the final five episodes, we’ll see a trip to Puerto Rico, a very bad spray-tan, a whole new side of Julian, the potential return of Clothes Over Bros, and musical performances from several cast members, including both Bethany Joy Galeotti and James Lafferty – though in rather different contexts.