Curse of the Chippendales: Greed, Jealousy & Murder Get Stripped Down In New discovery+ Series
This four-part series, created by the Academy Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn of Lightbox, begins streaming only on discovery+ September 24.
Chippendale dancers pose for the company's international calendar photo shoot at the Rio Hotel & Casino on October 1, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada. [via Scott Harrison/Getty Images]
Chippendales. One word evokes images of male beauty, female empowerment, and a cultural juggernaut that swept the globe during the 1980s and 1990s. But, behind the famous cuffs and collars is a story of greed, jealousy and murder-for-hire resulting in one of the most outrageous crimes in American history. Now, for the first time ever, hear from the former dancers, the women who worshipped them, the original business and creative leads of Chippendales, and the law enforcement officers who worked the case for years. With never-before-seen archival footage and photos, along with a nostalgia-filled soundtrack, this four-part series bares the hard truth behind the Chippendales crime saga leaving nothing to the imagination. CURSE OF THE CHIPPENDALES, created by the Academy Award-winning and Emmy Award-winning Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn of Lightbox, begins streaming only on discovery+ September 24th.
“The Chippendales brand was a cultural touchstone - forever recognized, often emulated, and famously parodied,” said Lisa Holme, Group SVP Content and Commercial Strategy, Discovery, Inc. “People expected tall tales of hot bodies from all corners of the world, not the true story of an FBI manhunt to catch a fugitive halfway around the globe."
When founder Steve Banerjee, an immigrant from India, began the all-male dance revue as a stunt to keep the doors of his struggling Los Angeles bar open in 1979, word spread like wildfire and women lined the streets, hungry to see what carnal delights could be found inside. Chippendales became an instant hit. Men auditioned by the dozens with the promise of wild nights and full pockets if they were chosen to wear the coveted Chippendales cuffs and bowtie uniform.
In front of the curtain, Chippendales was a nightclub designed to delight and entice women with the promise of fantasy and seduction under the guise of a male exotic dance show. It provided a place for women to experience the freedoms, previously only enjoyed by men; a place for them to be in control and feel sexually liberated in a safe space. But, behind the curtain lay a dirty secret, one that tormented the business from its humble beginnings as a single nightclub in California to a touring franchise that became a global phenomenon. From arson scares to the love-gone-wrong deaths of its original members, the Chippendales business was as plagued as it was plentiful.
As the empire grew, Nick DeNoia joined the team as a choreographer and took the show in an entirely new direction, expanding it to New York and eventually around the globe. Worldwide press attention, endorsement deals and the pressures of becoming too big too fast became a recipe for disaster as internal rivalries grew between key figures in the organization. But no one expected what would happen next, the sudden assassination of one of their own and a manhunt across two continents. Finally, the dirty secrets behind this iconic brand were undressed after so many years.
Curse of the Chippendales provides exclusive access to a cast of characters, some of whom are telling their story, in its entirety, for the first time. Interviews include: Michael Rapp, Read Scot, Dan Peterson and other original line-up members; the club’s lawyer Bruce Nahin; Nick DeNoia’s friend and associate producer Candace Mayeron; creative director Eric Gilbert; and retired FBI Special Agent Scott Garriola; along with other key investigators.
CURSE OF THE CHIPPENDALES is produced for discovery+ by Lightbox. It is directed by Jesse Vile, produced by Suzette Styler and the Executive Producers are Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Suzanne Lavery. Jeanie Vink is VP Executive Producer for discovery+.
Endeavor Content is distributing the series internationally.
Headquartered in London and Los Angeles, Lightbox is a multi-platform media company creating high quality non-fiction content for an array of distribution platforms. It was founded by two-time Academy Award®-winning producer Simon Chinn (Man on Wire, Searching for Sugar Man, Whitney) and Emmy® Award-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (LA 92, American High, Whitney). Lightbox’s recent productions include feature documentary TINA, directed by Academy Award®-winners TJ Lindsay and Daniel Martin, for HBO Documentary Films and HBO Max, Sky Documentaries and theatrical release, Whitney, a major theatrical feature documentary directed by Academy Award® winner Kevin Macdonald, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; Netflix feature documentary Tell Me Who I Am, which premiered to critical acclaim at Telluride and the London Film Festival; Academy Award®-nominated Black Sheep; Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein, a theatrical documentary which premiered at Sundance 2019 and aired on BBC2 and Hulu; feature documentary Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn for HBO Documentary Films; music- based documentary series Hip Hop Uncovered for FX and Supervillain for Showtime; high-profile Netflix hit series Murder Mountain and Diagnosis, an innovative Netflix Original eight-part documentary series. The company is currently in production on projects for a range of US, UK and international broadcasters, platforms and for theatrical release.