Chippendales is one of the most famous and most beloved male revues in the world, but the company has a surprisingly dark and sordid history that’s getting the true crime limited series treatment with Welcome to Chippendales.
Indian immigrant Somen "Steve" Banerjee, the company’s founder, purchased a struggling Los Angeles bar in 1975 and in 1979 introduced exotic dance nights aimed at the female audience. He renamed the bar Chippendales, and soon the club’s popularity grew to the point that Banerjee opened several more clubs across the country. He also had a touring production that traveled across the US and Europe, delighting female audiences everywhere.
But the company’s success was rooted in scandal as Banerjee used arson as a tool to stop the growth of other clubs trying to use his formula for themselves. In 1987, Banerjee hired a hitman to kill his business partner. He was arrested in 1993 and eventually sentenced to 26 years in prison for a variety of charges that included attempted murder and arson. He hanged himself in his prison cell a year after his sentencing.
Welcome to Chippendales follows Banerjee’s rise and eventual downfall, with The Eternals’ Kumail Nanjiani as Banerjee. Nanjiani also serves as an executive producer with Pam & Tommy EP Dylan Sellers.
Here’s what we know about Welcome to Chippendales.
Next episode of Welcome to Chippendales
All 8 episodes of Welcome to Chippendales are available to stream in the US on Hulu.
Welcome to Chippendales premieres January 11 on Disney Plus in the UK.
If you'd like to learn more about the real-life story behind the show, check out our fact vs. fiction guide.
Welcome to Chippendales episodes
Keep track of Welcome to Chippendales episodes with our handy guide:
Welcome to Chippendales episode 1, "An Elegant, Exclusive Atmosphere"
Airdate: November 22, 2022
"Indian immigrant Somen "Steve" Banerjee spends his days working at a gas station and his nights dreaming of being the next Hugh Hefner; a chance encounter with a Playboy centerfold and her slick promoter husband sends him in an unexpected direction."
Welcome to Chippendales episode 2, "Four Geniuses"
Airdate: November 22, 2022
"As Chippendales takes flight, Steve assembles his dream team-including a shy accountant who may be more than just a business hire that could jeapordize his whole business idea."
Welcome to Chippendales episode 3: "Velveeta"
Airdate: November 29, 2022
"While Steve is away in India, Nick cooks up his next creative triumph. When Steve returns home, he has other plans for the show that could lead them into a whole new level of fame."
Welcome to Chippendales episode 4, "Just Business"
Airdate: December 6, 2022
"Steve's new calendar flies off the shelves; Nick makes a pitch to New York investors; a snub from Steve provides Otis with a sobering wake-up call."
Welcome to Chippendales episode 5, "Leeches"
Airdate: December 13, 2022
"While Nick takes the Big Apple by storm, Steve is back in LA staring down a discrimination lawsuit. Jealousy flares when Nick becomes a media darling and the face of the company."
Welcome to Chippendales episode 6, "February 31st"
Airdate: December 20, 2022
"As Steve's financial woes mount, Nick offers a lifeline in the form of a proposal that would take Chippendales global. A printing error has disastrous consequences for the entire business."
Welcome to Chippendales episode 7, "Paper Is Paper"
Airdate: December 27, 2022
"Nick's success on the road infuriates Steve, who turns to Ray to spy on him. As Steve reaches his breaking point with Nick, Irene reaches hers with her husband."
Welcome to Chippendales release date
Welcome to Chippendales premiered on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 on Hulu. The first two episodes premiered in the first week and new episodes release weekly through January 3, 2023.
The limited series is available in the UK on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 on Disney Plus, through the Star banner.
Welcome to Chippendales cast
Welcome to Chippendales features an all-star cast bringing this unique story to life. Take a look:
- Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) as Somen "Steve" Banerjee
- Juliette Lewis (Yellowjackets) as Denise
- Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus) as Nick De Noia
- Annaleigh Ashford (American Crime Story) as Irene
- Quentin Plair (The Good Lord Bird) as Otis
- Robin de Jesús (tick, tick… BOOM) as Ray Colon
- Nicola Peltz Beckham (Bates Motel) as Dorothy Stratten
Welcome to Chippendales plot
Here’s the synopsis, courtesy of Hulu:
"A sprawling true-crime saga, Welcome to Chippendales tells the outrageous story of Somen 'Steve' Banerjee, an Indian immigrant who became the unlikely founder of the world’s greatest male-stripping empire — and let nothing stand in his way in the process.
"Siegel and Nanjiani executive produce alongside Dylan Sellers, Jenni Konner, Matt Shakman, Emily V. Gordon, Nora Silver and Rajiv Joseph, who will write on the series along with Mehar Sethi. Siegel and Konner serve as co-showrunners and Shakman will direct. Jacqui Rivera is co-executive producer and Annie Wyman is co-producer."
Is there a trailer for Welcome to Chippendales?
The trailer and teaser for Welcome to Chippendales features a stylishly dressed Nanjiani talking about a world of luxury. However, even gold loses its luster after a while and the trailer reveals the darker side of fame and fortune.
Take a look:
Here's the UK trailer...
How to watch Welcome to Chippendales
Welcome to Chippendales premiered Tuesday, November 22, 2022 on Hulu in the US. If you need to subscribe to Hulu you can choose between a standalone Hulu monthly plan, or you can choose the Hulu Plus Live TV package or the Disney Plus Bundle, depending on your needs.
UK viewers can watch Welcome to Chippendales on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 on Star through Disney Plus.
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Sarabeth joined the What to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long. She's also a huge baseball fan, and hockey is a new favorite.
When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts the My Nights Are Booked Podcast and a blog dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She also published her first novel, Once Upon an Interview, in 2022.