For about a week earlier this year, the University Village Thousand Oaks senior living community in Thousand, Oaks, California, had a sign out front that read “Las Esperanzado.”
But the name change wasn’t the result of a hasty rebranding exercise. Instead, the continuing care retirement community (CCRC)’s new sign was a set piece for a television pilot for NBC from legendary television writer and producer Norman Lear.
According to Senior Housing News, the pilot, “Guess Who Died,” is set in a fictional Palm Springs retirement community and features Hector Elizondo, Holland Taylor and Christopher Lloyd. The show’s plot follows a retired music industry executive trying to stay positive in his twilight years.
“It is, in a way, a coming-of-age story,” co-executive producer Brent Miller (pictured above, to the left of Norman Lear) told Senior Housing News. “It’s people in the third act of their lives, living it out with grace. Sometimes, the kid in them is still there, especially when it comes to dating and having a good time.”
To that end, the show could help change the sometimes-negative perceptions which surround the senior living industry and the older adults who live in retirement communities. And although “Guess Who Died” ultimately didn’t get the nod from NBC, it could live on to further its age-positive message at another network or online streaming service.
More than 80 of University Village’s roughly 500 residents acted as extras in the pilot, according to Ernie Sandlin, the CCRC’s marketing director.
“The residents were absolutely tickled,” Sandlin told Senior Housing News. “Some of them, because of their background, already had their [Screen Actors Guild] cards. That was fun seeing them involved.”
Read the full story at Senior Housing News.