'Popular' Cast Reunites 11 Years Later, Raising $30K for AIDS Walk
Eight actors from Ryan Murphy's first series, which aired from 1999 to 2001 on The WB, stage a long-delayed reunion on just two weeks notice.
The TV landscape has changed a lot since Popular ended in 2001. Creator Ryan Murphy now has his own empire, The WB is just a memory and the cast has scattered to the scripted winds, with starring roles on series such as Covert Affairs, Malibu Country and GCB.
But after more than a decade-long hiatus, eight of Popular's stars reunited in Los Angeles on Sunday for the 2012 AIDS Walk in West Hollywood.
"Leslie Bibb and I were talking, and she said she'd been approached by AWLA to do AIDS Walk," actress Tamara Mello tells The Hollywood Reporter. "She suggested we get the cast back together for it, so we just started contacting everybody -- and everybody did it."
Everyone entailed eight members of the primary cast: Carly Pope, Bryce Johnson, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Anel Gorham, Christopher Gorham, Sara Rue, Mello and Bibb. And despite the short notice, the group met Sunday morning, snapped photos alongside other actors and celebrities going out for the walk and went out for a group lunch afterwards at the Abbey in West Hollywood.
Mello, who played Popular's vegetarian activist Lily Esposito, says the money they raised has them thinking they might even do it again -- next time, with more notice.
"It was the first time we've all been together in over ten years," she says. "And we raised $30,000 in just two weeks... It's kind of crazy."
The cast, many of them active on Twitter, led the call for donations on social media, where much of the feedback came from fans who weren't even old enough to watch the show its first time around.
"I wasn't really surprised by hearing from the original fans," says Mello. "The show has a cult following, but now there's a new generation of kids in high school watching the DVDs."
Many of those kids, no doubt, came to Popular from Glee. Of all of Ryan Murphy's series -- Nip/Tuck, American Horror Story and New Normal among them -- the Fox musical is most kindred to Popular, his first show.
"Ryan was always a force to be reckoned with," Mello tells THR. "He's got this brilliant mind, and he's constantly moving on. He's never complacent."