We all need a little dance, a little music, and a little laughter in our lives. Sometimes, we get chunks of all of those things rolled into one.
That’s what Fox’s newest upcoming series, The Big Leap, promises to be, especially for all the ballerinas out there.
Inspired by a reality TV show from the United Kingdom called Big Ballet, Fox officially gave the project a pilot order all the way back in January 2020.
After all of the production delays (for reasons all of us are all too familiar with by now), The Big Leap was picked up to series in April 2021.
The show’s creator Liz Heldens and producer Sue Neagle had originally teamed up to pitch the idea of this American scripted adaptation back in 2015.
After a series of hoops and obstacles they had to jump through, Fox heavily pursued the project and now, here we are!
With that, here’s everything we know so far about Fox’s The Big Leap.
Who’s behind the show?
Both Heldens and Neagle are executive producing the show, with Heldens set as showrunner after it was greenlit in April.
Alongside them is Jason Winer, who was announced as early as February 2020 to direct the pilot episode.
Winer is also co-executive producing with Peter Dale from the UK-based company Rare Day, which also produced the reality series The Big Leap is inspired by.
The Big Leap is a co-production between Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television, which Winer is under a deal with.
What’s The Big Leap about?
Described as “a show within a show”, The Big Leap is formatted like a reality show but is, in fact, entirely scripted.
In a virtual panel held last June, Heldens explained that she was watching the UK series when she thought, “Oh, this is like The Full Monty and Silver Linings Playbook and Little Miss Sunshine“, and things took off from there.
The original series Big Ballet featured a host of plus-sized amateur dancers who were recruited to be part of a modern remake of Swan Lake.
In the same vein, The Big Leap, according to Fox’s official logline, is “…a modern tale about second chances, chasing your dreams and taking back what’s yours. The show revolves around a group of diverse, down-on-their-luck characters attempting to change their lives by participating in a potentially life-ruining reality dance show that builds to a live production of Swan Lake.”
The series promises to have strong messages of self-empowerment and self-love, as well as a chance for us to reflect on the stories and journeys of “people in transition” and “people trying”, according to Heldens.
Who are we going to see?
Teri Polo, Ser’Darius Blain, and Raymond Cham Jr. were the first to be cast in main roles for the pilot in February 2020.
Polo will play a former ballerina turned stay-at-home mom Julia Perkins. Blain will portray professional football player Reggie Sadler who needs some public image TLC. And Cham will star as Gabby’s dance partner Justin Reyes.
The following month, Scott Foley was cast as Nick Blackburn – the executive producer of the fictional dance competition series The Big Leap. While Simone Recasner was cast as a single mom as Gabby Lewis, and Jon Rudnitsky as down-on-his-luck former auto worker Mike Devries.
Piper Perabo was eventually cast in the lead role of Paula Clark, a former dancer, and VP of a major car company. With Mallory Jansen and Kevin Daniels joining her in the main cast.
Daniels will star as one of the show’s co-hosts Wayne Sleep. While Jansen will portray the other co-host and former ballerina Monica Sullivan.
Finally, after the series was already picked up Anna Grace Barlow joined the main cast in the role of ballroom dancer Brittney Lovewell. And Adam Kaplan, Tom Lennon, and Robert Wisdom were cast in recurring roles.
Kaplan will play Brittney’s twin brother and dance partner Simon Lovewell. Lennon will play the fictional network’s president of unscripted programming Zach Peterman. While Wisdom will portray Justin’s father Earl.
The Big Leap is set to premiere the first of its 11 episodes on Monday, September 20 at 9/8 central.