Sharon Leal has come a long way since her time as Dahlia Crede on Guiding Light. The beautiful actress who went on to a star turn in the David E. Kelley hit Boston Public, before heading to the big screen in such successful urban flicks as This Christmas and the Why Did I Get Married? films, returns to television this fall in Hellcats, one of only two series picked up by The CW this past pilot season.
Loosely based on the nonfiction book Cheer: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders by Kate Torgovnic, Hellcats revolves around a Lancer University pre-law student named Marti (Alyson Renae Michalka), who is forced to join her college's competitive cheerleading squad when she loses her scholarship, thanks to her irresponsible mom (played by Gail O'Grady). Think Bring It On: The College Years meets Felicity.
Leal plays the role of Vanessa, a former Hellcat, who is now the team's cheer coach. Vanessa shares a romantic past-turned-rivalry with the university's football coach. High School Musical alum Ashley Tisdale, also stars as Savannah, captain of the Hellcats, who spars with Marti. Smallville lead Tom Welling and former Desperate Housewives scribe Kevin Murphy developed Torgovnic's book for television and serve as the series' executive producers. Check out the trailer from Hellcats after the jump.