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  • Actor Allusion
    • In episode 7x08, the guys discuss their favorite sports movies. Skills, played by Antwon Tanner, mentions Coach Carter as his—Antwon Tanner was one of the stars, and Mark Schwahn, the show's creator, was a co-writer. Nathan, played by James Lafferty, mentions Hoosiers, and one of Lafferty's early roles was in a movie based on the Hoosiers.
    • On Dawson's Creek, Dawson (James Van Der Beek) dreamed of being a movie director. So when Van Der Beek appears in Season 6, he's a director...a high-strung, womanizing, cocaine-addicted director who wants to subject Lucas's movie to all kinds of Executive Meddling - namely to have Lucas end up with his best friend Hayley whilst Peyton dies, mimicking Dawson's two big relationships.
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    • One of Peyton Sawyer's defining characteristics is her love for music - Hilarie Burton was working for MTV as a VJ prior to being cast as Peyton, and continued in the role alongside her shooting schedule for One Tree Hill for a time.
    • During Lucas & Peyton's wedding reception in episode 6x23, Julian rants about Brooke bringing Nick Lachey as her date, asking how he can compete with "the guy from Dancing with the Stars" & when Missy points out that he's thinking of Nick's brother, Julian then snaps "Laguna Beach then!" which Chase retorts was "Some other tool." The tool in question was Stephen Colletti, who plays Chase.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Much like Dan abandonned Lucas before he was born, Chad Michael Murray's mother walked out on her family when he was young. This is part of the reason Chad requested the role of Lucas over Nathan.
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  • Cast the Expert: James Lafferty & Paul Johansson were cast as Nathan & Dan in part because of their skills as basketball players.
  • Channel Hop: By virtue of the WB & UPN merging into The CW.
  • Colbert Bump: "I Don't Want To Be" being used as the show's theme gave sales of Gavin DeGraw's debut album a significant boost.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Mark Schwahn (Series creator & show runner) stated that ending to episode 2x10, in which Lucas gives a speech about someone he cares about drifting away & then turns up at Brooke’s house, didn’t make any sense.
    • Daneel Harris has complained about her final appearance on the show, claiming it was unfair that Rachel was left penniless & humiliated by Dan as he unceremoniously dumped her whilst literally every other character was successful.
  • The Danza: Among the bit players, it's happened a couple times. Skills Taylor, whose actual name is Antwon, is played by Antwon Tanner. Bevin Mirskey, his one-time girlfriend, is played by Bevin Prince.
  • Dawson Casting:
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    • All of the kids actors were subject to this, with James Lafferty being the youngest at 18 when production began on the series whilst Chad Michael Murray, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Sophia Bush & Lee Norris were all in their early twenties, Brett Claywell (Tim Smith) & Bryan Greenberg (Jake Jagielski) were in their mid-twenties, and Antwon Tanner (Skills) was 29, a full 11 years older than Lafferty & only 7 years younger than Moira Kelly, who was playing Lucas’ mother. As the show took four seasons to tell two years worth of story, the gap only widened & became more apparent. Part of the reason for the four-year jump was so the actors could play characters closer to their ages.
    • Daneel Ackles was 26 when first cast as Rachel Gattina in the third season.
    • Stephen Colletti was 20 when he was first cast as Chase Adams during the fourth season.
    • lampshaded during Season 6, when Lucas' book about their high school years was becoming a movie. Everyone joked about who they wanted cast in their role, and when Lucas replied they were supposed to be high school students, the response was usually along the lines of "But have you seen how old the actors playing high school students are these days?"
  • Development Gag: Lucas writes a book about his time growing up in Tree Hill, called "An Unkindness of Ravens", the original title for the series. In Season 6, the book is adapted into a film which is ultimately cancelled, with Julian instead adapting the book into a television show in Season 9, just like One Tree Hill started as a movie before Mark Schwahn adapted his pitch to be a television series.
  • Directed by Cast Member:
    • Paul Johansson (Dan Scott) - Episodes 2x17, 3x07, 3x18, 4x06, 4x15, 5x02, 5x08, 5x15, 6x04, 6x19, 7x10, 7x14, 8x15 & 9x03.
    • Moira Kelly (Karen Roe) - Episodes 3x19 & 4x12.
    • Chad Michael Murray (Lucas Scott) - Episode 6x14.
    • Bethany Joy Lenz (Haley James Scott) - Episodes 6x16, 7x17 & 8x09.
    • James Lafferty (Nathan Scott) - Episodes 6x20, 7x07, 8x05 & 9x06.
    • Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis) - Episodes 7x09, 8x06 & 9x12.
    • Austin Nichols (Julian Baker) - Episodes 8x18 & 9x07.
  • Dueling Shows: With The O.C., which debuted the same season.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: God knows how many hairstyle/color changes there have been between seasons.
    • Just try to keep track of Haley's hair color changes and styles (dark brown, light brown, blond-ish, long, short...) over the course of the series.
    • Brooke goes from no bangs in Seasons 1 and 2 to bangs in early Season 3.
    • Peyton goes from long curls in Seasons 1 and 2 to shoulder length & straight in Season 3, before gradually going back to long curls by the end of Season 4, with varying shades of blonde during this time. In Season 6, her hair goes from blonde to brunette.
    • Lucas shaves his head in Season 2, grows his hair out over the next two seasons; goes for a more mature haircut in Season 5, briefly has a mohawk, shaves his head again, and then grows his hair back out over the course of Season 6. When he returns in Season 9, he's grown his hair out & has gone brunette.
    • Nathan shaves his head in Season 3 & grows it out over the course of the next two seasons. At the start of Season 5, he's grown a beard & has longer hair due to his depression, before going back to his more sensible haircut & being clean shaven. He shaves his head & opts for Perma-Stubble again in Season 9. Other than that, he actually has the same haircut throughout the show.
  • I Am Not Spock: In one interview, Paul Johansson tells the story of one fan who hit him with her handbag because he was "so mean to that boy" and he had to explain to her that he was an actor and not Dan Scott.
  • Irony as She Is Cast:
    • Lucas Scott is one of the best basketball players in the Ravens line-up... But Chad Michael Murray cannot play basketball. In the DVD Commentary for the first season finale, the cast all get a good laugh about how the one time Chad was supposed to miss, he couldn't stop putting it in the hoop; and the Season 5 Gag Reel features a montage of Chad's misses, hilariously matched up with 6-year old Jackson Brundage repeatedly making free-throws.
    • During his brief time on the show, Felix has somewhat of a rivalry with Lucas. The former's actor Michael Copon is most famous for playing the Blue Ranger on Power Rangers Time Force....whose name happens to be Lucas.
  • The Other Darrin: Peyton's dad Larry switches actors between Season 1 and Season 3, after being absent throughout the second season.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • Chad Michael Murray as Lucas Scott. Before One Tree Hill, Murray had made his name playing antagonistic characters, with that leading to series creator Mark Schwahn feeling it was "only natural" to cast Murray as Nathan instead of Lucas.
    • Kevin Federline as a douchey musician? Not a stretch. Said musician being the lead singer of a rock band instead of a rapper, means this trope is in effect.
  • Postscript Season:
    • Whilst it has all the hallmarks of a Postscript Season, this wasn't the case with Season 5 - Season 4 wraps up most of the loose ends from the first 3 seasons, and ends with the main characters graduating from high school whilst Dan Scott begins his prison sentance for murdering his brother Keith, and Season 5 saw a massive retool thanks to the 4 year Time Skip; Mark Schwahn states on the Season 5 DVD that when they were planning Season 5, it was decided to go with the Time Skip because they'd already done most of the typical college storylines whilst the characters were in high school, and it allowed more freedom with the plot since they could pick up with the characters returning to Tree Hill after college & they would be able to jump right into Jamie starting school rather than having him age naturally.
    • Season 9. Season 8 wraps up all of the character arcs, and even features a Book End to the very first shot of the series as it's closing shot, however The CW renewed the series for a final Season 9, which featured James Lafferty absent for half of the season, after Nathan was kidnapped in episode 9x03 and provided closure to the few loose ends left from Season 8, namely Quinn & Clay get married and ultimately, Dan Scott's redemption.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Karen's going to Italy in Season 1 was written so Moira Kelly could go on maternity leave.
    • Lucas's tattoo in Season 1 was necessitated by Chad Michael Murray getting his initials tattooed there durinng the production of the season.
    • Haley leaves to pursue her music in Season 2, and is subsequently Demoted to Extra for a large chunk of the season, because Bethany Joy Lenz was on the One Tree Hill tour at the time.
    • Peyton's change in hairstyle from long curls to short & straight in the third season, and the general toning down of her dye jobs over the following seasons, was due to the damage done to Hilarie Burton's hair over the course of the first two seasons.
    • Whilst Peyton's room was constantly changing over the course of the first four seasons, the wall behind her bed (Which held the gallery of images relating to people who were no longer in her life) vanished during the third season. This was in part because Hilarie Burton reprised her role of Peyton Sawyer in the music video for "The Mixed Tape" by Jack's Mannequin, and the video featured Peyton repainting that part of the room.
    • Rachel's Maxim cover shoot in Season 4 mirrors an actual photo shoot that Daneel Harris, Sophia Bush & Hilarie Burton did for the magazine.
    • Deb doesn't show up until "What Do You Go Home To?" in Season 5 due to Barbara Alyn Woods being on maternity leave.
    • Brooke’s romance with Owen in season 5 is abandoned after 5x12, with the explanation that he freaked when she mentioned wanting kids, because Joe Manganiello’s contract expired during the WGA Strike & he took the lead role in action movie.
    • Skills begins Commuting on a Bus in Season 7 due to Antwon Tanner's real life legal issues.
    • Notice how Haley has her hands on her hips all the time? That's a trait of Bethany Joy Lenz. She even once refused to wear an outfit that would have prevented her hands from being on her hips and forced the costume department to get a new outfit for Haley for that scene.
  • Romance on the Set:
    • Chad Michael Murray (Lucas) and Sophia Bush (Brooke) began dating & got married during the production of the first two seasons. By the time the third season began airing, they had announced their separation & were ultimately divorced by the half way point of the fourth season.
    • Sophia Bush later dated James Lafferty (Nathan). She also had a relationship with Austin Nichols (Julian) that lasted until after the series ended, but he took the role of Julian after they began dating.
    • There's also the reason Murray and Bush broke up in the first place - Murray flirting with and, after the divorce, starting a relationship with a much younger extra who was one of the cheerleaders.
    • Hilarie Burton (Peyton) married Ian Prange, one of the show's assistant directors. They ultimately separated before Hilarie left the show.
  • Technology Marches On: Seasons 3 & 4 are set during 2006, as indicated by Keith & Jimmy's tombstones listing his death as taking place in 2006. Season 5 follows a Time Skip of 4 years, which would place the season in 2010, around the time smartphones started to become common place. Whilst the show had the foresight to have Peyton & Brooke using iPhones, by 2010 it's a visibly outdated model & some characters (Notably Lucas, by this point a publisher writer) still shown using the cellphones from the previous season. Season 9 depicts Jamie using a PSP, yet further time skips place the season around 2016 - The console's succesor was released in 2012.
  • Troubled Production: During the late 2017 Hollywood Sexual Harrassment Scandal, the female members of the show’s cast & crew accused series creator & showrunner Mark Schwahn of sexual harassment & assault, even going so far as to allege that it was an open secret in Hollywood about how toxic a work environment One Tree Hill was. Hilarie Burton and Daneel Harris specifically cited the harassment they received as the reason they left the show, and the accusations were corroborated by the cast & crew of The Royals, Schwahn’s next project. Schwahn was fired from that show after an internal investigation.
  • Underage Casting:
    • Despite Haley being the youngest of the James children, Bethany Joy Lenz is actually the eldest of actresses who play the James sisters, with Lindsey McKeon & Shantel VanSanten being 1 year younger & 4 years younger respectively.
    • Chris Keller is implied to be older than the rest of the Tree Hill kids; Tyler Hilton is actually younger than all of the actors except for James Lafferty.
    • Kelsey Chow as as the college aged Gigi Silveri when she returns in the sixth season after the 4 year time skip - Chow was a notable exception to Dawson Casting when she was first cast, and upon her return in the sixth season, was 16 playing a college student.
  • Urban Legends:
    • A long standing rumour amongst the Brucas fans is that Brooke & Lucas were meant to stay together, but Chad Michael Murray & Sophia Bush's real-life divorce led to the producers resurrecting the Lucas/Peyton ship instead. No-one involved with One Tree Hill has ever confrmed this as the reason for the Lucas/Brooke relationship ending, with Word of God repeatedly asserting it was always meant to be Lucas & Peyton. People who argue against the theory generally point to the timelines not gelling together - the couple announced their separation in September 2005, which was early enough in the production of the season that the show could have aborted the Brucas storylines from the second half of the season.
    • After the airing of episode 9x07, featuring the return of Chad Michael Murray as Lucas Scott, Sophia Bush was forced to come out & dismiss rumours that she had asked not to have any scenes with Murray, noting that she actually said told Mark Schwahn to write scenes with Lucas meeting with the rest of the old gang if he wanted.
    • The actual circumstances behind the departures of Chad Michael Murray & Hilarie Burton at the end of Season 6 weren't confirmed until November 2017, nearly a full decade after the fact. Amongst the rumours of both actors wanting more money, are rumours that one of the two was willing to return but the producers didn't want to keep one half of the pairing without the other. It was ultimately revealed in the midst of the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal in late 2017 that Hilarie chose not to renew her contract at the end of the sixth season due to sexual harassment she received from Mark Schwahn during her time on the show.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • One Tree Hill existed for several years as a pitch for a film titled "An Unkindness of Ravens".
    • The series was originally going to be set in Illinois, the home state of creator Mark Schwahn. Executives suggested the producers look at warmer states, and the production settled in North Carolina, which allowed for the show to use Wilmington (The town where Michael Jordan grew up & base for Capeside, Massachusetts) as the base for Tree Hill.
    • Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz/Galeotti) was not in the original pilot. Instead, it had a different character named Reagan portrayed by a different actress.
    • Chad Michael Murray was originally slated to play Nathan. He requested the role of Lucas, as he better resonated with the elder Scott due their similar backgrounds.
    • Jimmy Edwards was originally planned to be part of a Laurel and Hardy esque duo with Mouth, but the show's budget in season 1 forced them to cut the character after the second episode.
    • Whitey's wife Camilla was originally going to be seen speaking with Whitey early in the first season, before it was revealed that she had died before the series began. This idea was later used in Season 7 with Clay & Sara.
    • The original intention was for Lucas/Peyton/Nathan to be the Love Triangle, rather than Peyton/Lucas/Brooke.
    • The original idea for the school shooting in Season 3 was to introduce a brand new character to serve as the shooter. This changed when one of the production team remembered that the show had never explained why Jimmy Edwards stopped hanging out with the rest of the River Court guys when the show was forced to cut the character after two episodes.
    • Quinn was originally only going to be around for a year.
    • Peyton & Lucas were intended to return for Brooke's wedding in episode 8x13, but those plans were dropped at such an early point in production that Hilarie Burton was never actually asked to come back for the episode.
    • Hilarie Burton revealed at a fan event she was told Lucas/Brooke and Jake/Peyton were the intended endgame relationships back in season 2. It is unclear, however, if this was meant as the overall endgame of the show, or if it was the contingency if the show wasn’t renewed before they could put Lucas & Peyton back together.
  • Working Title: An Unkindness of Ravens
  • Written by Cast Member: Chad Michael Murray wrote Episode 6x11, "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)".
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