TONY AWARD�-WINNING ACTRESS MARISSA JARET WINOKUR ("HAIRSPRAY") TO HOST OXYGEN'S NEW ORIGINAL SERIES "DANCE YOUR ASS OFF"
Oxygen's First-Ever Dance and Weight-Loss Competition Series Features Dance, Diet and Divas as Contestants Compete to Find Their Inner thin
NEW YORK-DECEMBER 18, 2008- TONY Award�-winning actress Marissa Jaret Winokur, well known for her role as plus-size Tracy Turnblad in the hit Broadway musical "Hairspray," will host the newest original entry from Oxygen, the network's first-ever dance and weight-loss competition series, "Dance Your Ass Off." The announcement was made by Amy Introcaso-Davis, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development, Oxygen.
The new series will combine the best of both reality genres as contestants diet and dance to discover their inner thin. Each week contestants on "Dance Your Ass Off" will be judged by their ability to perform a dance routine combined with the weight loss they have achieved for that week. They will be scored by a panel of judges (to be announced at a later date).
As host of "Dance Your Ass Off," Winokur will introduce the dance numbers and support the contestants by guiding them through their weekly journey to a healthier lifestyle, but doing it in a fun way. The contestants will be challenged with mastering a variety of dance styles from hip-hop to ballroom and cabaret. "Dance Your Ass Off" will premiere on Oxygen in 2009. Since dancing is not always a solo activity, the contestants will be partnered with professional dancers (to be announced) who will help each contestant reach their highest dancing potential.
"The stars really aligned on this one. Marissa was absolutely our first choice to host this show. She has the right blend of enthusiasm and talent to help these contestants as they juggle learning new dances and managing healthier eating habits," said Introcaso-Davis. "We are fortunate to have someone who has experienced first hand the struggles of losing weight, as well as the grueling training it takes to learn dance routines from her time on 'Dancing With the Stars.'"
"I am thrilled to be the host of 'Dance Your Ass Off!,'" said Winokur. "I had the time of my life learning how to ballroom dance for 'Dancing with the Stars,' and getting in shape was just an amazing extra bonus. I'm really excited to help others do the same thing. I know what the contestants will go through on so many levels, I am sure we will inspire each other!"
Winokur is currently reprising her role as Tracy in the Broadway production of "Hairspray's" final month, ending January 4, 2009. Additionally, she acts as a correspondent for TV Guide Channel's "Hollywood 411" and "Reality Chat." Most recently, Winokur's fancy feet brought her to the semi-finals on ABC's sixth season of "Dancing With the Stars."
Winokur has been featured in a myriad of roles on both the big and small screens, including a co-starring role with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon in "Fever Pitch." She also played roles in popular classic films such as "American Beauty," "Never Been Kissed" and "Scary Movie." Winokur's TV credits include a co-starring role on FOX's hit comedy "Stacked" with Pamela Anderson; recurring roles on "Dharma & Greg" and "Moesha;" and appearances on hit series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Just Shoot Me" and "Felicity." She began her career on stage, appearing as Jan in the Broadway production of "Grease."
Winokur's performance as Tracy has garnered her a TONY Award�, Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress. In July 2008, Winokur and her husband, Judah Miller, welcomed baby boy Zev Isaac Miller.
"DYAO" will be produced by 495 Productions. Sally Ann Salsano ("A Shot at Love") is executive producer. The show was developed by Lisa Ann Walter and Kate Rigg, who will also serve as consulting producers.
Oxygen is a program service of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and is currently available in over 74 million homes. The network was launched in 2000 to fill a void in the television landscape -- creating a network targeted to younger women. Oxygen is rewriting the rulebook for women's television, with a vast array of unconventional and original programming including "Bad Girls Club," "Coolio's Rules," "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency," and "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood."