Let’s go back, back to the beginning.
During the first episode of the “Laguna Beach” rewatch podcast “Back to the Beach,” hosts Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti disclosed just how much money they were making for the first 11-episode season.
“I think $2,500,” Cavallari said on the Dear Media podcast, which debuted on Tuesday.
“I don’t even think it was that much. I think it was $2,000,” Colletti responded. “Lauren [Conrad] and I renegotiated for Season 2. It was going to be our last season! We were like, ‘We’re out of here!’”
“Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” aired on MTV for three seasons from 2004 to 2006, following the lives of teenagers growing up in the California town. Much of the first two seasons (the third brought in a new cast) followed Cavallari, Colletti and Conrad’s love triangle. Each episode of the podcast, which has been ordered for 40 episodes, will dive into an episode as the duo watch the first time since it aired 18 years ago.
In the first intro episode, they opened up about how the show began and why they signed on to it at 17.
“I honestly would have done it for free,” Cavallari said. “At that point, in high school, to me, it was more of a competition. Everybody wanted it and I was like, ‘I’m gonna get this show!’ I’m super competitive, that has not changed. So, when they told us they were gonna pay us, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, great!’”
MTV producers came to the Laguna Beach high school to cast the show, giving interested students 20-page packets to fill out. Colletti knew he wanted to work in the entertainment industry and wanted to host, so he thought he should get to know the MTV producers. While he doesn’t remember much about the questions asked, Cavallari recalls more.
“It was like, ‘List your five best friends and what you hate about them.’ I remember one of the questions was, ‘Who do you think is going to be prom queen?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t care as long as it’s not Lauren Conrad,’” she recalled. “The questions were setting us up to disclose all of this information. Obviously, they were trying to get to the bottom of things, which they did!”
No one knew what the show would look like. After filming the pilot, all the parents and students watched a “watered down version” of a teaser. However, the rules had changed. After the Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson halftime show, produced by MTV, aired, the PTA decided they didn’t want filming allowed at school. So the show was only filmed on the weekends; Season 1 took nine months to capture.
“I think it’s going to be fun to go back and relive it, although, I’m not going to lie, I have a little bit of anxiety thinking about sitting down and watching those years,” Cavallari said. “It wasn’t always the easiest for me. I don’t feel like I was portrayed in the best light or accurately. … There were only a couple of times where I feel like they really showcased our relationship. Those moments, I was like, ‘Thank you! That was us. It’s sweet and it was fun.’ But they were so far and few between that majority of the time, I walked away from it going, ‘Well that’s bullshit. That’s not me. That’s not what happened.’”
After “Laguna Beach,” Cavallari landed multiple acting roles before heading back to MTV for “The Hills” from 2009-10. She was part of her own E! docu-series, “Very Cavallari,” from 2018-20 and is the founder and CEO of lifestyle brand Uncommon James.
Colletti became a VJ for MTV’s “Total Request Live” after “Laguna Beach” wrapped. He joined the cast of “One Tree Hill” in 2007 and appeared on and off on The CW show until 2012. He also co-created “Everyone Is Doing Great” alongside “One Tree Hill” co-star James Lafferty in 2021, which he produced and starred in.