Despite a week of monsoon rains and a weather forecast that included thunderstorms, the skies cleared and the stars came out for the "Hawaii Five-0" Sunset on the Beach season six premiere Saturday.
The show’s annual party at Queen’s Surf Beach draws fans eager for a glimpse of their favorite stars, who arrive on a red carpet stretched across the sand. Fans also get to see the season premiere well ahead of the network debut, which this year is scheduled for Sept. 25.
But the torrential rains that lashed Oahu much of Friday and Saturday morning put the event in jeopardy. CBS didn’t greenlight Sunset on the Beach until midday Saturday and as a precaution, hastily built a canopy over the red carpet just a few hours before show time.
It drizzled only once, though.
Alex O’Loughlin, who headlines the cast as lawman Steve McGarrett, said he had his doubts in the days ahead of the event.
"Yes, man, I did," he said as he stood amid screaming fans on the red carpet. "We had to shut down production of the last shot Friday because there was an electrical storm. And then it came down this afternoon. But I’m thrilled. Look at all these people."
Peter Lenkov, the show’s executive producer, said fans began waiting at the beach on Tuesday, which he found amazing. On Friday, when he drove by the beach and saw fans actually waiting in the rain, he was blown away, he said.
"It’s amazing," Lenkov said as he stood on the red carpet. "Such dedication. They’re the reason we are on the air after six seasons."
When Lenkov addressed the crowd later, from a stage below the screen, he joked that he didn’t have a speech because he didn’t think the event would be held.
"I thought we were going to have rain and end up showing it at O’Toole’s or a local bar," he said. "But luckily, you all prayed. I asked you to pray and we got a perfect night. Actually I think it’s probably one of the best nights we have ever had for sunset on the beach."
Honolulu police officers handling crowd estimated about 5,000 showed up, which is what the event drew the year before.
With the exception of Scott Caan, all of the show’s stars attended, some braving humid conditions in jackets — with sweat stains as a badge of courage.
"Five-0" began shooting episodes in July and this week finished up the season’s seventh episode.
But Lenkov touted the premiere as the most expensive to date, noting that it went well over budget. With a plot that involved 19th century pirates, buried treasure and actors in period costumes, the episode was probably one of the show’s most unusual as well.
A group of pirates even walked the red carpet, scowling and saying "argh" a lot. Some signed autographs — "Pirate," of course.
"It was a lot," Lenkov said of the cost of the episode. "Enough that I am going to pass around a hat later to see what everyone can chip in."
The new season has been billed as one filled romance: Characters Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) and Adam Noshimori (Ian Anthony Dale) are newlyweds, McGarrett is talking proposing to his girlfriend Catherine Rollins (Michelle Borth) and Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim), whose wife was viciously murdered a few seasons ago, will get a love interest.
"I think that is maybe part of the theme this year, relationships, and that is what we are focusing on," Lenkov said. "I think it’s just part of the evolution of characters."
O’Loughlin thinks his character could be a good family man.
"He’d be a great father," he said. "He’s a little bit crazy, but I think he’d be a great father."
Kim said the episodes have been fun to shoot, including a scene where he’s roaring along the H-3 freeway on a motorcycle. The state agreed to close lanes of the freeway to allow for unhindered shooting.
"It’s been really nice," Kelly said. "There has been a lighter side to Chin along with the bad ass moments that are vintage Chin. And he has a love interest coming in soon."
And the romance sounds good, he said.
"He has a love interest coming in sometime soon," he said. "I will be looking forward to playing those kinds of scenes as well. I think it’s great we are delving into the characters’ personal lives, seeing different sides to them, different colors. Nothing wrong with that."