The cable network is billing the 9 PM ET/PT return as "the winter premiere" of the series. The latest episodes of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino's quirky show — about a directionless dancer (two-time Tony Award winner Foster) who lands in a small town where she spars with her mother-in-law (Tony winner Bishop), a local dance teacher — began shooting last fall in California.
The winter return of "Bunheads" is called a "back-order pick-up" — essentially, a continuation of the first season — rather than a second season.
The title refers to the hairstyle of classical dancers. In the first season, Foster's Michelle Simms, a former Vegas showgirl who once aimed higher, has slowly bonded with a quartet of young teen dancers (Kaitlyn Jenkins as Bettina "Boo" Jordan, Julia Goldani Telles as Sasha Torres, Bailey Buntain as Ginny Thompson and Emma Dumont as Melanie Segal) in the sleepy town of Paradise, CA. Michelle also encounters a gaggle of offbeat supporting characters in the series from the creator of "Gilmore Girls."
The final show of the first round of episodes appeared Aug. 20, 2012, on the cable network. At summer season's end, Michelle inadvertently sprayed mace in the faces of her dancers during a performance of The Nutcracker, sending the troupe to the emergency room and promping Michelle's exit from Paradise.
Read the Playbill Brief Encounter interview with Foster from September, in which she talks about the first season of "Bunheads." Here's Playbill's June 2012 interview with Foster, on the topic of "Bunheads." In the Jan. 7 winter season premiere, according to ABC Family, "Michelle has returned to Las Vegas and is working as a magician's assistant. It's been several months since the Nutcracker fiasco, where Michelle accidently maced the young performers of Paradise Dance Academy. Now she's crashing on her friend's couch and working as a dancer for a small-time magician in Henderson, NV. Meanwhile in Paradise, the dance studio is closed down, leaving the students to keep busy on their own. Ginny has taken over her mother's real estate business; Melanie has been caring for her grandpa, and Boo is pulling her hair out taking care of her little brother while her pregnant mother is on bed rest. After a summer at Joffrey, Sasha returns but refuses to head back home, instead hiding out with friends."
Foster won two Best Actress (Musical) Tony Awards for Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes. Bishop was the original Sheila in A Chorus Line, and took home the Tony for her work that that musical classic.
Visit the official "Bunheads" website at abcfamily.com/bunheads.