In a competitive situation, with multiple networks pursuing, ABC has landed ballet-themed dramedy written/executive produced by Deception and Mercy creator Liz Heldens and executive produced by Sue Naegle. The project, which has received a script commitment with a significant penalty, hails from Sony Pictures TV’s recently relaunched TriStar TV label.
The British reality series, which had a brief run on Channel 4 last year, featured 18 amateur, plus-sized dancers, many of whom were told they were too fat to dance when they were young, as they are recruited to put together over 20 weekends a production of Swan Lake under the tutelage of a former Royal Ballet principal and an artistic director. (Watch a trailer below)
The scripted adaptation will keep the aspiration feel of the reality series in the spirit of such movies as The Full Monty and Billy Elliott. It centers on a flamboyant retired ballet dancer and a reluctant prima ballerina who work to assemble a troupe of dancers of all shapes and sizes to perform Swan Lake. A rowdy subversive dramedy, this Detroit soap will explore the personal and professional lives of a diverse group of characters as they get ready for their big performance and are granted a second chance to realize their dreams, while also taking a frank look at size and body image in America.
Heldens, repped by WME, and Naegle executive produce the scripted series with Emily Renshaw-Smith and Peter Dale of UK company Rare Day, which produced the reality series. Ovation was the original U.S. distributor of the UK series. This marks one of the first major sales for the recently relaunched TriStar Television, run by Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs.