Grease Is Getting A TV Spinoff, But Don’t Expect John Travolta

Jamie Donnelly as Jan, Stockard Channing as Rizzo and Dinah Manoff as Marty in Grease.

Go, greased lightning! Even though the ‘70s are a thing of the past, Grease is still the word. And now the popular movie musical, which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as star-crossed lovers, is getting a new spinoff. But don’t expect either of them to show up because the project is taking things in a different direction.

Paramount+ has officially given the green light to prequel series Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies from Paramount Television Studios. According to Deadline, The series is set four years before the original Grease, which came out in 1978. The upcoming prequel series will feature new characters, even though it would appear the title is referring to Rizzo, Frenchy, Marty and Jan from the classic film. Still, it sounds like the show's four outcast girls are going to have a major impact on Rydell High.

HBO Max was initially the home for Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, where it was given a straight-to-series order before it landed at Paramount+ for development last fall. The prequel is written and executive produced by creator and showrunner Annabel Oakes, with Marty Bowen executive producing via Temple Hill and Erik Feig executive producing via Picturestart.

The Grease spinoff was first announced in 2019 as Grease: Rydell High. Like its movie counterpart, the series was going to be a musical set in and around its titular high school. The premise promised to reimagine the movie, bringing some of the characters from the original Grease to the small screen. There's a chance it may have been the next Glee, as it would have tackled elements such as peer pressure, puberty and more that were featured in the beloved musical. It's currently not known (to the public) why HBO Max bowed out of the series or why the direction changed.

Grease is burning up on the big screen as well. Last summer, prequel movie Summer Lovin’, took a big step forward when it was announced that Hearts Beat Loud director Bret Haley would be directing the new movie. The new film will tell the story of the summer romance between Danny and Sandy. It’s great to see the longevity of Grease after so many years, though it makes sense when you consider it's one of the most beloved movie musicals of all time.

Not too long ago, Fox even did the positively received Grease Live!, which starred Julianne Hough, Carlos PenaVega, Vanessa Hudgens, Carly Rae Jepsen, Keke Palmer and Jordan Fisher. Hudgens, who portrayed Rizzo, even received high praise following the live telecast. The special was ultimately nominated for 10 Primetime Emmy Awards and won five of them.

It will be interesting to see what Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies has in store, and one can only imagine who will be portraying Rydell High’s resident girl squad. And perhaps some OG Grease stars, like John Travolta, will end up returning in some surprising cameos? There's no official release date for the show, but we'll keep you posted as updates arrive.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.