Lisa Ann Walter has been busy doing double duty – acting in the big-screen “Five Killers” comedy with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl in Atlanta, while godmothering her June 29-debuting Oxygen show, “Dance Your A—Off.”
The funny lady dreamed up the concept for the reality dance competition/ weight loss program and serves as one of its judges and executive producers. “It’s been crazy. Ashton was talking to his guy from his television division one day when I was on the phone about ‘Dance Your A—Off” setside between “Five Killers” camera calls. “He got me doing the Twittering thing,” she adds. “Ashton Kutcher getting you into Twitter — it’s kind of like being baptized by Christ.”
For Walter, the “Dance Your A– Off” premiere marks the culmination of four years of determined effort, from the time she started pitching her idea to its arrival on Oxygen. There were lots of turn downs along the way. Walter was told by other network executives that with “Dancing With the Stars” on the air, there was no room for another dance-reality show. “Then ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ came along and proved them wrong,” she recalls. “But I kept pitching it, kept bugging my people. Everybody said no. I don’t care. I got two sitcoms on the air. I don’t know the meaning of ‘No,’” declares Walter, who gained weight for her co-starring role, with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere, in the big-screen “Shall We Dance” – and dropped those pounds with the help of salsa dance lessons.
“I’m really fortunate, obviously, in that people sparked to it and the network and 495 Productions and Sally (producer Sally Ann Salsano) executed it in the spirit that kept my concept. To see these wonderful, beautiful contestants looking at me across the floor having lost 10 pounds in a week – it’s a great feeling,” she says.