The ‘Magic Mike’ series premieres this week on HBO Max on December 16
‘Finding Magic Mike’
From a small-scale drama about struggling male exotic dancers, “Magic Mike” has grown into an international multimedia empire, encompassing two hit movies (with a third on the way), live productions in numerous cities (including Las Vegas), and now a reality show called “Finding Magic Mike,” premiering this week on HBO Max.
“Finding Magic Mike” functions in many ways as an extension of the Las Vegas “Magic Mike Live” show, both of which are based at the Sahara hotel-casino.
“What’s great about the TV series is that in a very honest way, it helps us explain why we did the live show and what the live show really is,” says Vincent Marini, executive producer of “Magic Mike Live” and an executive producer and onscreen judge/mentor on “Finding Magic Mike.”
Marini joins choreographers Alison Faulk and Luke Broadlick and “Magic Mike” film star Adam Rodriguez in guiding 10 men on their journeys from average guys to potential “Magic Mike” dancers.
“We’ve sat through many, many pitches for various ideas for television shows,” Marini explains. “When the idea came up that we might be able to really impact people’s lives by putting regular guys through the sort of ‘Magic Mike’ boot camp, helping them look at their lives a little bit differently, and how they can move forward as the best version of themselves—it got us all really excited.”
“Finding Magic Mike” starts with 25 contestants before whittling those down to 10 core cast members in the first episode. Those 10 cast members compete in various challenges to embody the spirit of Magic Mike himself, as conceived by film star Channing Tatum.
Both Tatum and filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, who are reteaming for forthcoming HBO Max film “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” are executive producers on “Finding Magic Mike.” “It doesn’t matter what the project is, if it says ‘Magic Mike,’ Channing and Steven are a part of it,” Marini says.
Capturing the positive spirit of both the movies and the stage show was important for “Finding Magic Mike,” which is more about cooperation than competition, despite the regular eliminations and the prospect of a $100,000 prize for the winner.
“It really was about finding ways to support [the contestants] through it,” Marini says. “Everything we did, we tried to really be affirmational, not be negative.”
As much as it showcases the journey of the contestants, going from lawyers, shoe salesmen, delivery drivers and other everyday professions to Hollywood-quality dancers, “Finding Magic Mike” is also a showcase for Vegas, the Sahara and “Magic Mike Live” itself.
“One of the great things about having a good dedicated partner in Las Vegas is that they were all-in on this, just like we were,” Marini says of working with the Sahara. “The things that we worked so hard for over the past five years surrounding the live show, I think they’ve helped make the television show something special and really unique.”
The seven-episode first season of “Finding Magic Mike” premieres December 16 on HBO Max.