HELLCATS is a coming-of-age story about Marti Perkins (Aly Michalka, "The Roommate," "Bandslam"), a pre-law scholarship student at Lancer University in Memphis, Tennessee. Marti is a hip, edgy townie with working class roots, whose world flips upside down, literally and figuratively, when her scholarship is cancelled and her well-meaning but irresponsible mother, Wanda (Gail O'Grady, "NYPD Blue," "American Dreams") neglects to inform her.
Broke and out of options, Marti realizes the only way she can stay in school is by repurposing her dormant gymnastic skills to win a place on the Hellcats Lancer's legendary cheer squad and the scholarship that comes with it. She had been a rising star in high school gymnastics until she abruptly quit senior year, so Marti knows she has the moves and athleticism needed for the squad. When she rocks the tryouts and "makes the mat," Marti is thrust into a world of camaraderie, backstabbing, and competition that takes place at the intersection of the Memphis music scene, backroom academia, college town politics and big money collegiate sports in the Deep South, football is God.
Marti's new roommate, Savannah Monroe (Ashley Tisdale, "High School Musical"), is a petite, peppy Texan and captain of the Hellcats. Savannah has led a sheltered life up to this point. She was home-schooled by her strictly religious parents, but recently had a falling out with them over her newfound secular lifestyle, co-ed living arrangements and racy Hellcats outfits. Savannah's faith is still important to her, but she's also a fierce competitor, and loves her role as captain of the squad.
The fact that Savannah was chosen to be captain is a sore spot with squad member Alice Verdura (Heather Hemmens, "CSI: Miami"), who was on track to become captain until Savannah transferred in and snapped up the position, displacing Alice as the Hellcats' top flyer. Alice has a complicated past with Lewis Flynn (Robbie Jones, ("One Tree Hill"), an architecture student who gave up football at Lancer when he was disillusioned by corruption in the football program. Although he has only been cheerleading for a year, Lewis has found it to be every bit as challenging and competitive as his former sport. He has also moved on from his relationship with Alice, despite her still-strong feelings for him, and he's more than a little interested in the newest star on the squad, Marti. As if her recent injury wasn't enough, Alice sees the budding friendship between Lewis and Marti as a new cause for alarm.
Surrounded by all these new people, Marti feels lucky she can turn to one familiar face: Dan Patch (Matt Barr, "Harper's Island"), a townie who has been her best friend since first grade. Dan still lives with his large, working class family and works the docks as a machinist. Even though he's never felt the need to go to college, Dan is a budding documentary filmmaker and is never without his camera.
Overseeing all the practices and personal drama is former Hellcats star and current coach Vanessa Lodge (Sharon Leal, "Dreamgirls," "Private Practice"). Vanessa has a history with Red Raymond (Jeff Hephner, "The O.C."), the school's football coach, a history which creates conflict between Vanessa and her fiance, the Hellcats team doctor, Derek (D.B. Woodside, "24"). Vanessa's job is on the line unless the squad wins the upcoming nationals. Just like Marti, Vanessa's future is riding on the Hellcats ascending to the very top of the fiercely competitive cheerleading world.
HELLCATS is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Tom Welling Productions, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios with executive producers Kevin Murphy ("Desperate Housewives," "Reefer Madness"), Tom Welling ("Smallville") and Allan Arkush ("Heroes," "Crossing Jordan").