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Tony Watch: Candy Spelling’s Fred Astaire Fantasy; Revenge Of The Bunheads

candyspellingCandy Spelling is in New York this week, promoting her latest autobiography Candy At Last and checking in on the fourth Broadway show she’s taken on, following Promises, Promises; How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and Nice Work If You Can Get It. Her current show is After Midnight, which started out as an Encores! concert at City Center and features Wynton Marsalis’s Jazz At Lincoln Center All-Stars playing the music of Duke Ellington and others, in a setting reminiscent of the Cotton Club.

“I grew up loving jazz, and I wanted to be Fred Astaire when I was a little girl,” she says. In this case, she also wanted to work with After Midnight’s vast phalanx of producers led by veterans Scott Sanders and Roy Furman. “Doing this one took me beyond what I’ve done before,” Spelling told me. “I wanted to be part of really producing it. Any time you invest in anything, it’s a risk, and each producer has a different style. They were very welcoming — Scott really makes it a family.”
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‘Bunheads’ Creator Says No Cast Changes Planned In Response To Diversity Criticisms: TCA

By | Thursday January 10, 2013 @ 11:09am PST

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 »

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‘Bunheads’ Co-Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino: Q&A

By | Friday July 27, 2012 @ 1:49pm PDT

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.

Related: Producer Dan Fogelman On ‘The Neighbors’: TCA Read More »

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It’s Official: ABC Family Picks Up ‘Bunheads’

By | Wednesday February 8, 2012 @ 9:43am PST
Nellie Andreeva

ABC Family Picks Up ‘Bunheads’ To Series, Passes On ‘Intercept’ And ‘Village People’

BURBANK, CA (February 8, 2012) – ABC Family continues to expand its original programming slate, giving the greenlight to the new drama series “Bunheads” (working title), it was announced today by Michael Riley, president, ABC Family.

Executive-produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Gilmore Girls”) and headlined by Tony Award-winning actor Sutton Foster, “Bunheads” is the tale of a Las Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries a man, moves to his sleepy coastal town, and takes an uneasy role at her new mother-in-law’s dance school. “Bunheads” joins ABC Family’s recently announced new original series, comedy “Baby Daddy” and unscripted “Beverly Hills Nannies.” All three series will begin production in Spring 2012.

Kate Juergens, executive vice president, Original Programming and Development, ABC Family added, “Amy and I had a great collaboration on ‘Gilmore Girls,’ which continues to find new fans here on ABC Family, and I look forward to this new partnership being just as successful. Her vision for ‘Bunheads’ aligns beautifully with our brand and is a wonderful addition to ABC Family’s original programming slate. I know our Millennial audience is going to fall in love with Sutton Foster the same way Broadway has.”

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ABC Family Picks Up ‘Bunheads’ To Series, Passes On ‘Intercept’ And ‘Village People’

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 6:25pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

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, comedy Baby Daddy. I hear that the cable network’s 2 other pilots from the current batch, drama Intercept and comedy Village People, are not going forward.

Bunheads stars Sutton Foster as Michelle, a Las Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries a man and moves to his sleepy coastal town, and takes an uneasy role at her new mother-in-law’s dance school. “I spent 20 years of my life with my hair in a bun,” Sherman-Palladino, who got her break as a writer on Roseanne, said when the project was picked up to pilot in September. “I was supposed to be a dancer. My mother was a dancer. Her greatest heartbreak was when I got on Roseanne. So, while writing this will never equal playing ‘Rumpelteazer’ in a bus and truck tour of Cats, it does let me to tip my hat to a really special time in my life.” Bunheads was originally picked up as a cast-contingent pilot in fall 2010 with a different writer.

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