One Tree Hill has been off the air for over six years, but the show has only increased in popularity in the years since. Thanks to Netflix and other streaming sites, a whole new generation of fans has come to appreciate the iconic teen (turned 20-something) drama, and the show's momentum isn't slowing down any time soon. If you're a huge fan, you probably know plenty about The WB/CW series, but there are still a few secrets about One Tree Hill that even the biggest fans wouldn't know. Get ready to have your mind blown, One Tree Hill fans.
When One Tree Hill premiered in 2003, it instantly became must-see TV. What began as a show about a basketball-inspired sibling rivalry quickly became much more as the series dove deeper into the lives of students at Tree Hill High School. Nine years later, the show had changed quite a bit: Now in their twenties, the core characters were dealing with parenthood, career drama, and married life. Despite all of these changes, OTH stayed true to its characters, and as a result, fans stuck with the series through its ups and downs (and boy, there were many).
OTH is famous for its on-screen drama, but many fans don't know that there was plenty going on off-screen as well. These eight secrets about One Tree Hill will make you totally rethink the series — and inspire you to head over to Netflix for another binge watch.
1. The series was originally supposed to be a movie.
Imagine if One Tree Hill had only been a two-hour movie instead of a nine-season series?
In Building A Winning Team: The Making Of One Tree Hill, a documentary about the series, creator Mark Schwahn revealed that he originally developed the concept as a movie called Ravens (the school's mascot). However, Schwahn's plans changed when executive producers Brian Robbins, Mike Tollin, and Joe Davola began lobbying him to adapt the idea into a TV show. It took a while (as in, four years), but Schwahn eventually agreed, and thus OTH was born.
2. Chad Michael Murray was so bad at basketball that the show hired a coach to help him out.
In the show, Lucas Scott is a basketball prodigy, but the same can't be said of the actor who played him. Apparently, Chad Michael Murray sucked so much at basketball that the show's producers had to hire a coach to make him look even moderately believable on the court. In addition, Murray's lack of ability slowed down production, as the crew had to continually reshoot scenes until he finally made a shot.
On the flip side, Murray's on-screen half-brother didn't have an issue with the basketball scenes. Before joining the cast as Nathan Scott, James Lafferty played on his high school basketball team, so he fit right into the Ravens offense.
3. The show was almost set in Illinois.
Originally, Schwahn wanted One Tree Hill to take place in Illinois, but the network asked him to reconsider, and that's how the show came to be set in North Carolina. As Schwahn explained in the 2012 TV movie One Tree Hill: Always & Forever:
I set One Tree Hill in Illinois, because that's where I was from. But because of production concerns, the studio asked me to look at some warmer-weather states. One of the states they wanted me to look at was North Carolina. Once I got there, it was beautiful.
Looking back, it's difficult to imagine the show not being set in North Carolina. Good call, WB.
4. The series is about basketball, so of course, it has an important connection to Michael Jordan.
It's pretty impossible to make a show about basketball that doesn't reference Jordan, but OTH has a special connection to the great. Jordan grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, where the show was filmed, and all of the show's basketball scenes are filmed in his high school gym at Laney High School.
According to Schwahn, getting to film in Jordan's old stomping grounds ultimately made him agree to change the setting to North Carolina. He explained in One Tree Hill: Always & Forever:
[The network] took me to look at Michael Jordan's high school gym. And I said, "We're good. This will be perfect." And that was Laney High school. That's where the Ravens played their basketball.
5. Hilarie Burton almost went bald playing Petyon Sawyer.
Sometimes, you really have to commit to a role. In order to fully transform into Peyton, actress Hilarie Burton had to die her hair multiple times and undergo near-constant styling. After two seasons of this, Burton's hair was so damaged that she had to cut it off to avoid going bald, prompting a major hairstyle change for Peyton.
6. No one in the cast appeared in all 187 episodes.
Fans have come to love the One Tree Hill cast, but as it turns out, not a single cast member appeared in all 187 episodes. Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton likely would have appeared in every episode, but they left the show after Season 6, so they missed the final three seasons.
According to ScreenRant, the actor who came closest to hitting the 187 mark is Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis), who appeared in every episode except the 2003 pilot. Bush wasn't cast until the pilot was completed, so she missed out on her chance to take the OTH throne (she's still the Queen in my heart).
7. Sophia Bush had to audition three times to land the role of Brooke.
Speaking of Bush, the actress was rejected not once, but twice for the role of Brooke Davis. Bush was reportedly considered "not sexy enough" the first time around and "too sexy" the second time, but she persisted and landed the part after a third audition. I definitely have some thoughts about this rating scale, but now's not the time to get into that. For now, I'm just grateful that she landed the part, because in my mind, Sophia Bush is Brooke Davis.
8. The 100th episode was written in the Tree Hill High library.
To commemorate the show's one hundredth episode (Season 5 Episode 12), creator Mark Schwahn wrote the script in the Tree Hill High library. What better way to get inspiration for a wedding (and a kidnapping) than to write in the place that started it all?
In the One Tree Hill At 100 special, Schwahn explained the decision and said that it was an incredibly unique experience:
I wrote the majority of that episode in the library, where [producer] Joe Davola was directing his first episode ... The process of writing the script for Episode 100 was unlike any script I had written before. And yet, it felt kind of right because I wrote it surrounded by the cast and crew that had gotten us to 100.