Though cheerleading sees its fair share of the “is it a sport?” controversy, there is no denying its extensive role in pop culture! Television shows that take place in high school have never been a stranger to including cheerleading characters, and recently several media outlets have developed TV shows center around cheerleading.
Here is a list of some of the most recent, and some of our favorites:
Cheerleading TV Shows
Secret Diary of an American Cheerleader, 2012
Secret Diary is a web series produced by Cheer Channel, Inc., that followed the journey of Emma as she began a new school and joined a new gym. Season 2 is set to air in the Fall of 2012.
This reality show, produced by Kelly Ripa and her husband, goes inside the high stakes, high pressure world of competitive cheerleading with coach Patty Ann Romero and one of her gym’s senior team.
Cheer Perfection, 2012
This show depicts the competitive world of cheerleading, including the role of the cheerleaders’ mothers and their competitive sides. Cheer Perfection started as a one-episode special on TLC, but was quickly picked up as an 8-episode series.
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team, 2006 – current
This show brings viewers inside the tryout process for one of the NFL’s most popular teams.
Cheer Characters on TV Shows
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1997 – 2003
Buffy herself was a cheerleader before she had to give up that gig to be the slayer. One of the cult classic series’ other main characters, Cordelia, was a cheerleader and there was a full episode that focused on a mother trying to take over her daughter’s body to relive her cheerleading days.
This short-lived comedic/dramatic series focused on competitive cheerleading in college. It only ran for one season, but had a large following from the cheerleading world.
Friday Night Lights, 2006 – 2011
A show that is all about football just wouldn’t be convincing without cheerleaders! The show didn’t just throw cheerleaders in as a side note, they were prominent members of the cast and had their own storylines.
Heroes, 2006 – 2010
One of the shows main characters, Claire, played by Hayden Panettiere, was a cheerleader with the ability to regenerate. Her character, and the show, was famously popularized by the first season catchphrase “Save the cheerleader, save the world.”
Glee, 2009 – current
The popular musical show not only focuses on the glee club, it also center’s around The Cheerios, the school’s cheerleading team. Not only is their coach, Sue Sylvester, a main character, but several of the squad members are also in the glee club. The Cheerios’ uniforms are featured on just about every episode, and became popular Halloween costumes as the series has gained popularity.
Saturday Night Live(Spartans), 1995 – 1999
One of Will Farrell’s most popular skits from his Saturday Night Live days is the Spartan Cheerleaders. Will, along with Cheri Oteri, play two students that created their own mini-squad after being cut from their school’s squad. For each skit, they would perform at a different school function that didn’t normally have cheerleaders. Though the skits did make fun of cheerleading, it was done lightheartedly and it definitely put cheerleading in the spotlight. This is another example that resulted in a lot of Halloween costumes!
What did we leave out? Which cheerleading television shows and series characters are your favorites?
Jessica brings her experience as a gymnast, dancer, team athlete and camp counselor to Cheerleading Blog, and CheerLiving Magazine, as the Editor-in-Chief. Jessica lived in the Chicagoland area, where she received a B.A. in Communications before moving to San Diego. Jessica has a fish tank at her office and at home, is addicted to music and can't resist french fries.