Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Name Switchers

Have you ever seen that show, Potomac 20854. Chances are, you have.

90210 is actually based in the Beverly Hills of the East, 10 miles northwest of Washington in Potomac, MD. The school is modeled off of Churchill High, a nationally top-raking public high school, and some references will be familiar to the Washingtonian.

When some movie website did a Brand Recognition survey of Potomac 20854, at least one person thought the show was about a vacuum cleaner. No, it's just the real-life 90210. Often, screenwriters (like myself) avoid using real palcenames for fear of legal retribution. So sending the title 2500 miles to the other side of America would help achieve this goal. Anyway, people recognize the Beverly Hill brand. You know, the one that's full of people with out-of-place mansions, luxury suv's and plenty of Botox to go around. I'm sure there are real people there like the ones in BH of the East.

The problem is that 20854 didn't seem to run smoothly off the tongue of the screenwriters. What about
20054 (two double-o fifty-four), the original zip code
DC 54 (In homage of the pre-zip system
River Road (in homage to the street that sees many luxury car accidents)

NCIS didn't come of as a runaway success, except in the DC area market, where the plot takes place.

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