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.