Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Colin Egglesfield: Out of Melrose Place!

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So this is why The CW picked up Melrose Place for an additional five episodes.

TV critics were puzzled by the network's announcement yesterday, considering the abysmal ratings. But producers Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer clearly had a plan to improve the series, successfully pitched it and have now shared it with the world.

In a nutshell:

  • Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and Colin Egglesfield have been let go. They'll each wrap up their brief runs in January.
  • The murder mystery storyline will be completed before the end of the year.
  • New characters will be introduced and the show will take on a lighter tone.

Regarding all three changes, allow us to say: good calls!

Violet Picture
Auggie Kirkpatrick Photo

Farewell, dead weight. Is Melrose Place making the right decision in dropping these stars?

Neither Simpson-Wentz nor Egglesfield can act (at all); the mystery of who killed Sydney is intriguing, but there's no consistency in how often the show chooses to focus on it; and this is Melrose Place. It should never take itself too seriously. Seriously, a sparrow's nest as an emotional prop?!?

Hopefully, these changes will result in an adult version of Gossip Girl, a series that is so outlandish, it's entertaining.

Regarding the ousting of Wentz and Egglesfield, as well as other topics, follow this article's jump for an interview with Slavkin.

On letting the actors go: We always knew that this murder mystery would end in episode 12. And we always knew that [Ashlee's] character of Violet would be instrumental in that as a suspect, and [Colin's character of] Augie as well. And once that murder mystery was solved, she would go on her way. That was the original plan going into the development of the show.

On the show's tonal shift: Now that the characters are no longer suspects, they can have a great time, they can focus on their careers, they can get into bed with each other without having this ominous cloud hanging over the building… But this is still Melrose Place. There’s still going to be intrigue on the show.

On the use of Heather Locklear: She’s in every episode moving forward. She’s a major focus [of the show]. She has a hidden agenda that will become not so hidden as the episodes move along. She’s not just the boss of Ella [Katie Cassidy].

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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