'Huge' cancellation: Nikki Blonsky talks about the surprise demise of her ABC Family show -- and the importance of plus-size TV

Nikki-BlonskyImage Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.comLast week’s cancellation of Huge left its dedicated fans reeling and prompted an online outcry of support for ABC Family’s charming teens-at-fat-camp drama. We chatted with star Nikki Blonsky (Hairspray) — who, as angsty troublemaker Will, gave a particularly fearless performance, up to and including a striptease down to her bathing suit — about why the world needs more Huge.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did this show mean to you?
NIKKI BLONSKY: I was really proud to be playing such a ballsy character like Will, who is not afraid of who she is. That’s what kids need to see instead of the typical stuff that’s on TV. I’m really proud to have the fans that we had, and I’m just honored that they watched the show and that after hearing the horrible news that it’s been canceled, they’re fighting for it with petitions and rallies. I can’t thank them enough.

How did you take the cancellation news?
It definitely caught me off guard. We were so thrilled with the reviews we got. We were so thrilled with how the media and the public were receiving it. When I got nominated after two episodes for a Teen Choice award, we thought, Oh my God, people are loving the show. We thought it was a show that was really helping kids. I still get fan mail and Tweets every day from kids saying that they’re not afraid to go to the beach in a bathing suit now or express themselves through their hair color or whatever it is they want to do. We had a show that was so different. We were the first plus-size cast, I think, ever, in Hollywood history. I just think it’s kind of sad that TV stations are a little scared of having such a different show with such different people.

Why do you think it’s so important to have a cast that looks different from the model-skinny-and-pretty mold?
It’s so important to see variety on TV, because that’s what America is all about. It’s like if a restaurant always served apple pie. At first it could be very appealing, but after a while it’s going to get boring. When you have all these different-looking people who are talented, why not give them the same opportunity to show that? I know when I turn on a TV show and there’s a bunch of really, really pretty people who are not my size, it can be somewhat depressing and upsetting. I can’t relate.

What will you remember most from your time on the show?
My favorite part of working on Huge was working with Paul Dooley [who played camp cook Salty]. He was just the best. Our scenes, he just always brought out the best in me, and we would just always have the best time together. We did Hairspray together, and when I found out Paul was going to be playing Salty, I freaked out. Honestly, I’ve just learned so much from watching him work, because he is such a legend. He really just made me feel at home. Ironically, I was always butting heads with Gina Torres’ character, but she was my other favorite. I’m so happy that at least that’s how the show ended, with me and Gina sitting, looking at the stars, because she literally is an angel in my life. So for me to share the last moment of Huge with the person I adored the most next to Paul, that meant a lot to me.

How hard do you think it will be to find another role like this?
It’s an interesting, tricky little business I’m in. It’s crazy. One day you’re at awards shows and people are loving your TV show, and the next minute you’re sitting at your parents’ house going, “Why did this happen and how did I get here?” I have to say I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have played really wonderful young ladies between Tracy Turnblad and Will Rader, who are complete opposites. There aren’t a lot of well-written roles for women of a curvier stature in my age bracket. But if anybody in Hollywood has any guts, they’ll write a new character for a new TV show. I think the business should focus a little more on talent and a little less on looks.

Read more:
Why you should sign the Save-Huge petition
Huge: The Big Idea

Comments (98 total) Add your comment
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  • EWsMom

    Yeah sorry, no one wants to watch a bunch of fat girls feeling sorry for themselves. Pathetic.

    • Kat

      I’m pretty sure that’s not what the show was about.

    • Michael

      You should be shot.

    • Potch

      That is NOT what the show was about. Not to mention, your comment is false. MANY people watched the show, hence the petitions and campaigns to bring it back.

      • Brian

        I do not agree with EWsMom, but networks do not cancel shows because “MANY” people are watching.

    • Meredith

      EWsMom, you’re a pathetic idiot who clearly doesn’t understand what the show was about.

    • Colette

      Troll alert!

  • Greekfreak

    I watched this a couple of times, it was just ehh, and it definitely was not as charming as ABC Family’s “10 Things I Hate About You,” which was surprisingly cancelled, so this is certainly not a surprise. I have to say, that 10 Things would have been a perfect pairing with Melissa & Joey.

  • Elle

    Nobody wants to watch fat people. If we want to see that, we can go to Walmart. Entertainment is about escapism, not being slapped visually.

    • Michael

      If I want to see the inside of a trailer and some confederate flags, I’ll be sure to give you a visit.

      • Maureen

        Michael FTW! ;)

    • Potch

      Nobody wants to watch you either.

  • HoneyB

    Wasn’t the first show with obese characters the one called “Babes” or something from the late 80s? It starred that woman from “Boosoom Buddies” and was about her and her sisters?

    • tom

      Sara Rue also had a show (Less than Perfect, I think) that tried to offer a more well-rounded (sorry!) portrayal of a bigger woman.

      • amanda

        ugh. you mean the Sara Rue who is now a size -2? Thank you liposuction…er,I mean weight watchers!

  • AMDgirl

    And let the cruel comments begin. I see EWsMom already got it started. I might add how disturbed I am that the name “mom” is part of this person’s name. I feel sorry for kids being raised by a-holes.

    • megan

      Yes, as you can see despite all the media hang-wringing in the last couple weeks, bullying those who are different is alive and well and fully supported by anonymous message boards.

  • SeinfeldJunky

    What a bummer! I loved this show and I really got into the characters and it had nothing to do with their size. It was just a show about kids trying to find their way with their friends and their families and it did it in such a unique way. The acting was superb. I am so sorry that it has ended.

  • Jack Jason

    An actress with Nikki’s talent needs to meet with Ryan Murphy. Her agents should be positioning her to be on “Glee.” She’d be perfect for that show and a great foil for those skinny cheerleaders. Plus, this girl can SING.

    • TweedleV

      totally agree. She needs to be on #glee

      • Polly

        Oooh yeah, I hear Nikki’s a real “diva b.” in real life. Seeing her clash with Mercedes would be (somewhat) interesting.

      • Um

        She needs to be on The Biggest Loser and take that girl from Precious with her.

    • Psac

      I agree she’d be good for a guest spot, but don’t sterotype the cast — the show already has Mercedes. Not saying a show can’t have more than one plus sized actress…

      • rkor

        I’m pretty sure that Glee’s cast is pretty diverse and having 2 non-stick girls would be awesome!

  • Todd

    @Elle. Why is watching “Huge” slapping you visually? Because its about plus size people? Nikki Blonsky is a very attractive woman who wears her curves very well. It was never visually assalting and I, for one, am sad to see it go. Ari Stidham’s “Do It Right This Time” is still on my ipod. I’m hoping for the show to get new life again.

  • Nan

    I tried not to get too involved with this show because of the way ABC Family pulled the plug on “10 Things.” The lesson is not to get too attached to any original programming on the channel because they will kill it.

  • mlb

    I watched it and it was okay. It was nice to see a show dealing with obese kids. But it was more than that – it was a show about teens and their issues, and instead of trying to fix their problems by cutting or drinking or any other desctructive thing kids do these days, they turned to food. There need to be more shows like this on tv, but they need to be written better so they last longer than one season.

    • MLE

      It wasn’t about how well-written the show was. Huge was written by Savannah Dooley and Winnie Holzman, the latter who was the creator/writer of My-So-Called-Life. That show lasted 19 episodes and earned accolades. Instead this was about the network and the viability of a show that represented more than just the skinny demographic.

  • Paco

    Imma miss Alistair and Becca :(

    • Chris

      me too. I loved Becca and was curious where Alistair’s character was going by the season finale.

  • Ixarix

    It’s shameful that ABC canceled this show, it seemed like it was just finding its feet. If it was given more time, it sounds like it was attracting a dedicated fan base.
    However, even more shameful are the hurtful “fat” comments that are appearing on this message board.

    • m1

      They canceled this, yet Pretty Little Liars can stay on?

  • dianne

    I think shows dealing with all types of body sizes and issues are important but to bill it as a show that deals with obese teens is wrong. I won’t watch Mike and Molly either because all it does it make fun of their size – they know they are fat – why make a comedy about it? Why must we deal with size at all – people are people, black/white/tall/short/fat/skinny/gay/straight – why so many labels?

    • amilah

      I agree, if anyone watched the show, you would find that the characters faced similar issues regardless of size. My only complaint was the show was a bit of a downer. I am not saying it had to be Greek, but it could be a little more uplifting.

  • ®ustymustdie

    wah…morbidly obese girl’s show got cancelled…wah! go on a diet you cow.

    • kelsey

      Holy Jeebus, what the frick is your problem? How do you know she’s morbidly obese anyway – are you her doctor? Show some d@mn respect, you douche.

  • TF

    I’m a chubby chaser, I admit it.

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