Colt Prattes just got some pretty big news: he’ll be taking up Patrick Swayze’s role as Johnny Castle in ABC’s new version of the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. Being tooled as a musical, this update was announced on Tuesday (February 23) and essentially replaces the planned film reboot that was cancelled in July 2015, four years after it was first announced. Prattes is essentially an unknown, only having one TV and one music video role before this announcement. But he is a credited Broadway star.

As good of a choice as Colt Prattes may be, there are plenty of other stars who would have been perfect for this role. While we’re not discounting Prattes’ skill as a performer, it’s still quite a gamble to put a relatively unknown face, at least to mainstream audiences, into the lead role of a large-scale television production. (That’s not to say that he won’t kill it!) But what options were there in the realm of men more well-known and equally talented? Who else could have made sure that nobody puts Baby in the corner? Here are just some of the possibilities we considered.

  • Derek Hough: A trained dancer even before his time on Dancing with the Stars, Derek Hough was even a teacher at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. Plus, he also has the acting experience to bring the role of Johnny Castle to life again. In fact, it wouldn’t even have been his first time starring in the musical remake of a popular ‘80s movie—Derek Hough starred in the musical version of Footloose in 2006.
  • Neil Patrick Harris: “NPH” has plenty of stage experience, even winning a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2014 for his lead role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Harris also has Dirty Dancing experience, having reenacted an iconic scene from the movie on an episode of How I Met Your Mother.


  • Zac Efron: As if his experience from the High School Musical movies wasn’t enough, Zac Efron also has musical experience from working on the 2007 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray. And it wouldn’t hurt the Dirty Dancing reboot’s ratings to have so many young female fans tuning in just to see him.
  • Channing Tatum: Channing Tatum showed he knows how to dance in both Magic Mike films, though this is the kind of dancing that would require him to keep his clothes on. In fact, his first role was for his dancing, appearing in the music video for Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.” He also turned heads in the 2006 dance movie Step Up. Unfortunately, Tatum looks to be busy for the next little while, as we’ve previously noted that he has a busy 2016 ahead, so he probably would’ve turned down the role anyway.

  • Justin Timberlake: We know Justin Timberlake can dance; he’s been doing it as a part of his music career for years! He has also proven his acting chops, having gone so far as to take a brief hiatus from music to focus primarily on acting. With a combination of musical, dancing, and acting talent, not to mention major star power, Timberlake could have been the perfect choice to play the Dirty Dancing lead.

Going back to Colt Prattes; while he may not have as much celebrity power as these five male stars do, we’re sure that he’ll do the role justice. The Dirty Dancing TV reboot will be a live three-hour performance (similar to Grease: Live last month), but no air date has been set yet. Abigail Breslin will star opposite Prattes in the role of Baby (the role played by Jennifer Grey in the original film).

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