Network promises 'unflinching and unapologetic look' at pole dancers

By James Hibberd
August 01, 2016 at 05:48 PM EDT
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Starz is developing a new drama series set behind the scenes at a strip club. 

The project is titled Pussy Valley and it’s from playwright Katori Hall (The Mountaintop). The network promises an “unflinching and unapologetic look” at the lives of women working at a Mississippi club called Pink Pony (clearly, this project is big on subtlety). 

The logline: “Pussy Valley is an intimate window to the unexplored southern strip club world, where the desires of pro-ballers and politicians collide with the dreams of five brave women. For these women, the line between performance and reality becomes blurred, as the drama of their outside lives threaten their onstage personas. On the quest for money, power, and respect, each woman must make a choice. For some it’s a step down, for others a step up, as the Pink Pony stage constantly shape-shifts between a platform for freedom and a gilded cage. In this world of smoke and mirrors, who will fall and who will fly?”

Given premium cable’s quest to find dramas that also offer R-rated titillation, it’s actually a bit surprising that a pole dancing drama hasn’t been ordered before. Then again, perhaps 1995’s infamous box office flop Showgirls, which tackled the world of Las Vegas exotic dancing, made the combination of stripping and scripted drama seem unworkable for a time. A few years ago, Fox developed a male strip club drama in the wake of Magic Mike‘s success titled The Whole Shebang, but it never got off the ground.

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht was asked at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Monday if the show’s title would stay the same, with the reporting noting that some newspapers would not be able to print “Pussy Valley.”  

“It’s a story about cats,” he joked. “You know, it happens to be the title of the source material which has certainly been printed out there. It’s a title that I think is the right title for the show and I don’t know that we’ll run into trouble, but I guess that remains to be seen.”

Noted Carmi Zlotnik, managing director of Starz: “We’re excited to work with Katori Hall who has successfully created exciting and complex roles for black women in the American theater, and we’re confident she’ll continue to do so with Pussy Valley.”

In addition, Starz announced a superhero drama series in the works from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

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