This Week In History: The First Episode of The O.C. Airs

Aug. 5, 2003: One of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of the 2000s begins when Fox airs the series premiere of The O.C.

It’s difficult to think of a more decade-defining piece of pop culture than The O.C. Premiering in 2003, the show was an instant hit, gaining massive ratings and rave reviews. The show also played an integral role in popularizing indie music, becoming a launchpad for bands to premiere songs and gain exposure to a massive mainstream audience.

The show’s creator Josh Schwartz stated that he had always intended for music to play a huge role in the show. He hired Alexandra Patsavas as music supervisor, and she quickly earned notoriety for using poignant, emotional songs that were scripted into the episodes.

The O.C. would release six soundtracks during its run, and helped break bands like The Killers, Spoon, Death Cab For Cutie, and Imogen Heap. The Killers, along with The Walkmen and Modest Mouse, even made on-screen appearances in the show. The O.C. was highly influential in establishing television as a viable way for bands to earn money and gain exposure.

Many other shows would follow suit, and being picked up for a television soundtrack quickly became a marketing focus for artists. Patsavas state that she would receive between 400 and 500 CD’s a week for her consideration. Soon huge acts including the Beastie Boys, Coldplay, U2, Gwen Stefani would use the O.C. as an outlet to premiere singles. In 2005, Beck released five songs on a single O.C. episode.

While The O.C. was cancelled after its fourth season, Patsavas would continue to be the go-to music supervisor in the television industry. She worked on the Twilight Saga, Grey’s Anatomy, and Gossip Girl, which all continued to be lucrative outlets for exposing music to widespread audiences.