Vastly increasing the number of Paramount+ projects that we will be forced to worry will make either ourselves, or others, “cream,” The Hollywood Reporter notes today that the streaming service has picked up the Grease prequel series Rise Of The Pink Ladies for a 10-episode order. Referencing the name of the film’s resident girl “gang”, the series takes place four years before the incidents of the original film, finally revealing the dark sequence of events that led to Stockard Channing being forced to attend Rydell High despite being 33 years old when Grease was filmed back in 1977. (We’re making a few assumptions here, admittedly; the actual logline is all about “four fed-up, outcast girls” who “dare to have fun on their own terms, sparking a moral panic that will change Rydell High forever.” Neat!)
But while we don’t want to underestimate how interesting we’ll end up finding the deep lore of the wider Grease Expanded Universe, the behind-the-scenes story of this show is actually a lot juicier, at least at this stage. See. the series was originally developed two years ago for HBO Max, when it was still known as Grease: Rydell High. (Which, right there, was a way more boring title, and didn’t include the name of even a single cultivar of apples.) (Yes, we looked up the “proper” name for a breed of apples; sue us.) But while the series was given a series order by the original crop of execs heading up the streaming service (back during that time when it was picking up titles like “worst streaming service” from the likes of Christopher Nolan), it was scrapped in 2020 when HBO president Casey Bloys was given full creative control over the service, and presumably started asking questions like, “Why, in the year of our lord 2020, are we making a prequel TV show about Grease?”
But the Pink Ladies were not to be left unrisen, and so Paramount Television—which is producing the series, with Atypical’s Annabel Oakes in a consistent position as showrunner throughout these ups and downs—decided to keep the series alive (give or take a new title) on its own streaming service. And that’s the prequel on the Grease prequel show, not to be confused with Summer Lovin’, the Grease prequel movie, which is also in the works, because why not.