- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Of course there would be another one — and this time, the nation’s capital is in the crosshairs, er, fish eyes.

“Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No” premieres on SyFy at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return as Fin Shepard and April Wexler for their third go-round with the unnatural, weather-toothed phenomenon.

“I was on ‘90210’ for 10 years. That was a globally successful project for me, but nothing has ever resonated as loud in my career than what ‘Sharknado’ has done,” Mr. Ziering, who played heartthrob Steve Sanders on the long-running teen drama “Beverly Hills 90210,” told The Washington Times.

While he was walking the streets of New York this week, Mr. Ziering said, fans have continually approached him and shouted, “Fin!” He credits social media for the “Sharknado” phenomenon.

“SyFy fans are the most supportive in all of entertainment,” he said. “They buzz with excitement, and that excitement spills over into mainstream entertainment. The world has come to know ‘Sharknado.’”

The action for the campy threequel largely centers on Washington, where the president, played by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and his Cabinet must take charge when the latest sharknado plows into the nation’s capital.

“For 12 straight minutes, it’s nonstop running and gunning, and President Cuban is a badass,” Mr. Ziering said about the opening of “Oh Hell No.” “It’s great to see a president who knows how to throw a hand grenade and fire machine guns.”

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter puts in an appearance as the vice president. In a previous interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Coulter said of her acting: “I think I’m as good an actor as Lena Dunham.”

Other stars making cameos include “Baywatch” mainstay David Hasselhoff, Jerry Springer, wrestler Chris Jericho, Bo Derek and even self-flagellating “news” appearances by Matt Lauer and Al Roker reporting on the weather, uh, anomaly. (NBC Universal is the parent company of SyFy.)

Last summer’s aptly titled “Sharknado 2: The Second One” set a viewing record for a SyFy original film, turning the previous year’s original into a must-see franchise.

“SyFy has created the summer event in the TV movie genre,” Mr. Ziering said. “Just like James Bond, just like ‘Mission: Impossible,’ these are movies that go on and on with no end in sight.”

Mr. Ziering might like to see a sharknado hit London. “It would be so impactful to take out Big Ben,” he said. However, given the limited budget of the franchise, “if ever ‘Sharknado’ takes place on foreign soil, with our budget constraints, you can be sure we’re going to shoot it in Burbank, California.”

When the show premieres Wednesday evening, Mr. Ziering will be in Manhattan with co-star Miss Reid and SyFy executives at a viewing party. The show will be live-tweeted by Mr. Ziering.

“If you have Periscope, you can literally watch the movie with me and have an active video camera, and I’ll be fielding questions,” he said. “It’s just creating a more immersive experience for the viewers.”

Discovery Channel rolled out Shark Week earlier this month. Mr. Ziering praised the annual educational event but said the aims of Discovery and SyFy could not be further apart.

“Discovery does all the real stuff, and SyFy does all the fake stuff,” he said matter-of-factly. “I think the collective unconscious around sharks just has continued to be raised because they remain the apex predator. Certainly we’re finding out more and more [about sharks], but when it come to science fiction, you have a huge lease to do whatever you want.”

Asked whether his former “90210” castmates Luke Perry, Jason Priestly or others might put in appearances on future “Sharknados,” Mr. Ziering hedged, offering only, “It’s all about timing. Those guys are real busy, and I never get to see them enough as it is. We’ll see.”

However, hard-core “90210” fans should keep their eyes out for an Easter egg in “Sharknado 3,” as there is a subtle homage to Mr. Ziering’s “90210” character, Steve Sanders.

“It’s blatantly obvious if you’re a fan of ‘90210,’” he said.

Mr. Ziering, 51, remains grateful for the career boost the shark tornado anomaly has given his career — and for the fans whose social media savvy all but ensures that the disaster films continue.

“I think ‘Sharknado’ has legs for many, many summers to come,” he said.

The premiere of “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No” on Wednesday all but assures the beginning of the countdown to next year’s likely “Sharknado 4: Hell Yes.”

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