Saturday, January 17, 2015

Interviews With "Bella and the Bulldogs" Stars Brec Bassinger and Coy Stewart

To celebrate Nickelodeon USA starting to premiere and show the networks brand-new original comedy series "Bella and the Bulldogs" TONIGHT at 8:00pm ET/PT, the New York Post and Columbia SC Free Times have unveiled interviews with Brec Bassinger and Coy Stewart, who star as Bella Dawson and Troy in Nick's latest all-new show, which you can read below!

From the NY Post:
'Bella' star Brec Bassinger poised to be next big Nick star

Brec Bassinger stars as a cheerleader-turned-football-player on Nickelodeon's “Bella and the Bulldogs."
Photo: Robert Voets/Nickelodeon

Whether girls should be allowed to play football with boys is still up for debate in some circles, but Nickelodeon has firmly chosen a side with its new comedy series.

“Bella and the Bulldogs,” premiering Saturday at 8 p.m., revolves around a head cheerleader (played by newcomer Brec Bassinger) who goes from the sidelines to the gridiron when she becomes her middle school's starting quarterback — giving her the chance to realize a lifelong love of the game that she inherited from her late dad.

"She did cheerleading because she thought that was the closest she could get to football," Bassinger, 15, tells The Post on a trip to New York last month. "When she realizes she could actually be on the team, it's like a whole new thought to her. She feels like it will bring her not only closer to her dad, but closer to her dream of playing football."

As the only girl on the struggling Bulldogs football team, Bella has to learn to fit in with her male teammates without losing her two best friends from the cheer squad.

"That's probably the main challenge, the boys trying to accept her because it's breaking down stereotypes," she says. "It's something they're not used to. [It's] her trying to be one of the boys yet still being herself."

The "Bella" cast includes, from left, Haley Tju, Jack Radinsky, Bassinger, Tyson Stewart, James "Buddy" Handleson and Lilimar Hernandez.
Photo: Jim Fiscus/Nickelodeon

Bassinger grew up with two older brothers in the football-crazed state of Texas, where the show is also set. Like her character, she's a Dallas Cowboys fan and also an athlete: she was a competitive cheerleader and played volleyball, basketball and competed in track and field events.

To prepare for playing a quarterback (Bassinger throws the ball herself in all the football scenes, though she has a stunt double for the sacks), she got pointers from her father and went to football camp with her co-star Coy Stewart, who plays Troy, the Bulldogs' former quarterback and Bella's rival.

5 days until Bella and the Bulldogs. I am so excited for y'all to see what we have been working on @nickelodeontv January 17 at 8! -

"They taught us the correct form and also the cadence of a quarterback, how he walks out onto the field and takes control," she says.
While "Bella" is the young actress' first starring role, Bassinger started entertaining in pageants at age 3, winning the Little Miss World title in 2009. At 13, she booked a guest-starring role in "The Goldbergs" pilot and followed that up with a recurring role in Nickelodeon's "The Haunted Hathaways."

Having grown up watching the network's shows, it's been a surreal experience to star in one herself, especially filming on the same stage as her favorite show, "Drake & Josh." Besides the opportunity to meet the stars of that show, "Bella" has given Bassinger a new appreciation for football.

"Now I can throw a pretty mean spiral," she says. "When I go out and play with my guy friends back in Texas, they're like 'Woah, where did this come from?'"

Also, from the Columbia SC Free Times:
S.C. Native Teen Actor Coy Stewart Debuts on New Nick Show

Coy Stewart (No. 8 on the right) co-stars as Troy in Bella and the Bulldogs

The Henry Ford quote, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't — you're right," is posted on 16-year-old Coy Stewart's Twitter profile. Ford's quote is a mantra this teenaged actor says he learned early from his parents while growing up in Columbia.

"My parents always told me and my brother that we could do whatever we wanted to," Stewart says.

Stewart and his brother decided what they wanted to do is act.

Like many kids, Coy grew up watching shows on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, but unlike most, he is now co-staring in a new show, Bella and the Bulldogs. The show debuts on the Nickelodeon network on Jan. 17 at 8 p.m.

"It's an amazing blessing," Stewart says. "I used to watch a lot of shows on Nickelodeon and now here I am recording a show in their studios."

The story behind how it all happened could be a television show spinoff of the Stewart's real life.

When he was young, the actor loved watching movies with his dad. When he turned 5, he realized he loved making people laugh. He ended up taking some acting classes, but he says he didn't get serious about acting until the ripe old age of 9 or 10.

"We always thought we'd have to move to Los Angeles or New York if I ever wanted to do this seriously," Stewart says.

So they did. The Stewart family packed up their lives to follow a dream. Coy's mother Keisha left her job with Verizon in South Carolina over five years ago, and this family of four moved to Los Angeles. Since they arrived, Hollywood has become a family affair.

"My dad went to film school and he's directing now," he says. "Mom is in fashion school, and my brother is acting, as well, so we all found different pieces of the industry that we love."

The 16-year-old has had a number of acting gigs over his young career, but he landed his biggest role recently when he was cast as Troy, the Bulldogs' starting quarterback in Bella and the Bulldogs. It's a position Troy might not hold for long when the actress who plays Bella joins the team.

"It's a story about a young lady who wants to follow her dreams," Stewart says. "It's more than football and laughs — it's got a lot of heart. It's a great story."

While he loves his job, Stewart says being an actor is not all glitz and glamor. His schedule can be grueling. He works Monday through Friday and on an occasional weekend. He works for three weeks straight on the show, then he gets one week off. They shoot an episode per week and when he is not acting, he's working to keep up with his studies.

"I'm homeschooled. I do it while I'm at work. We have three teachers on set so when I'm not filming I'm doing school work. When I'm not working I'm doing that at home as well. I'm in the 11th grade right now. I will be graduating next year. I'm in my final stretch."

Like many child actors, Coy Stewart seems wise beyond his years. He takes his work seriously. He says he's in show biz for the long haul — just like the actors he looks up to.

"Will Smith, Denzel Washington — these actors have been around for such a long time and made their mark in the industry."

A young man with a clear head on his shoulders, he is well aware that many childhood actors lives don't always have happy Hollywood endings. But he says he's confident that remembering where he came from will keep him in check.

"I was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. I still say yes ma'am, and no ma'am and yes sir and no sir. Sure, I'm in this business ... I think the main thing to do is stay true to yourself. Stay true to your roots. My parents are with me all the time. If I ever, ever show any symptoms of [letting Hollywood go to my head], it will be smacked right out of me."

Bella and the Bulldogs premiers Saturday, Jan. 17, in a one-hour special that airs at 8 p.m. The show will air regularly on Saturday's at 9 p.m.

Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for all the latest Nickelodeon & Bella and the Bulldogs News and Highlights!

Nick Jr. UK To Premiere Brand-New Episodes Of "Dora and Friends: Into the City!" In February 2015; Toys To Be Released During Summer 2015

Nick Jr. UK has announced the exciting news in their new "Get Ready to Explore With Dora and Friends" promo/trailer that Nickelodeon UK's popular preschool channel, Nick Jr. UK and Ireland, will start to premiere and show more brand-new episodes of "Dora and Friends: Into the City!", the new animated spin-off series from Nickelodeon's massively popular animated preschool series "Dora the Explorer", Monday's during February 2015!

In a recent interview with ToyNews, Marianne James, Vice President (VP), Consumer Products UK & Irl & European Retail Sales, announced that "Dora and Friends: Into the City!", which premiered on Nick Jr. UK in November 2014, was the most watched ever show launch on Nick Jr. UK! Marianne also mentions that Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP) and Fisher-Price will release their highly anticipated "Dora and Friends" toy line during Summer 2015!

Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nick Jr. UK, Dora the Explorer and Dora and Friends News and Highlights!