Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Last summer, mega-producer Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter to criticize Bunheads executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino for a perceived lack of diversity in the Bunheads cast. The ABC Family show is set in a small-town ballet studio. The first of 8 new episodes aired Monday.
The Rhimes tweet: “Hey@abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kids watching this show? Not ONE?”
After today’s TCA panel on Bunheads, the always-outspoken Sherman-Palladino said there are no planned cast changes or additions to the list of major characters on the show to add diversity in response to Rhimes’ criticisms (Rhimes later backtracked a little on her tweet, saying that she didn’t object to her kids watching shows with white actors and praising Bunheads for showing girls of diverse body types). READ MORE »
Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino left that still-in-syndication WB/CW show (along with husband/frequent creative partner Daniel Palladino) in 2006 when contract negotiations ended unsuccessfully. Since then, she has developed several series scripts and/or pilots but none has been a success. Now she has found a home at ABC Family with Bunheads, a summer series about a ballerina-turned-Vegas showgirl (Tony-winner Sutton Foster) who unexpectedly finds herself teaching at her mother-in-law’s small-town dance school. (ABC Family is part of the Disney-ABC Television Group cocktail party at TCA this evening.) After its June 11th premiere, Bunheads immediately ignited controversy when mega-producer Shonda Rhimes, who is black, tweeted: “Hey@abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kids watching this show? Not ONE?” The outspoken Bunheads co-creator (with Lamar Damon) and executive producer talks to Deadline TV contributors Diane Haithman and Allison Hope Weiner about the new series, failed projects, what’s next, and her response to Shonda Rhimes.
DEADLINE: Dance insiders know the word “bunheads” describes ballet students who pin their hair up for class. Will the general public get it?
AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO: It’s the term I grew up with. We were called bunheads, and when I threw it out there it seemed to stick and people seemed to like it. I’m sure there was a conversation behind closed doors: “Perhaps we should call it Debbie Dances On Pointe.” And there was one phone call that said: ‘The title is Bunheads???’ ” And that was it. It was not a point of contention… I just like the word.
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EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that ABC Family is moving ahead with a series order to Bunheads, its dance drama pilot from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. It will join another new ABC Family series that was picked up last week, … Read More »