Some sources claim that Antin first began exploring the idea of a modern burlesque troupe in 1993 with her friend Christina Applegate; the troupe's first performance was in 1995. During this period they performed with numerous guest vocalists (see list below), with a repertoire of '50s and '60s pop standards, performed in lingerie and/or old-fashioned pin-up costumes. Antin reportedly drew inspiration from the choreography of Bob Fosse (Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Chicago).
They secured a Thursday night residency at Los Angeles nightclub The Viper Room, where they stayed from 1995–2001. In June 1999 Playboy ran a Pussycat Dolls pictorial, featuring at least contemporary members Kasey Campbell, Kiva Dawson, Erica Gudis and Lindsley Allen. In 2002 they moved to The Roxy. The group became internationally popular and was featured in magazines, television specials for MTV and VH1, ad campaigns, and movies. Carmen Electra was the group's lead performer for many of their shows. She said "I was part of the Dolls for two years and did every show with them...but financially, I couldn't become part of their new music project...It was a financial sacrifice I couldn't make."
With the involvement of music producers Jimmy Iovine and Ron Fair, the troupe was re-cast, transformed into a pop/R&B recording group, and signed up as employees of Iovine's label Interscope Records.
In 2003, Nicole Scherzinger (a.k.a. Nicole Kea), a former member of Popstars winners Eden's Crush, became the group's lead singer. The present members of the group are Nicole Scherzinger; Carmit Bachar (who joined in 1995); Jessica Sutta (who joined in 2002); and Melody Thornton, Kimberly Wyatt, and Ashley Roberts (who all joined in 2003). They opened the MTV Asia Awards 2004.
The Pussycat Dolls on the cover of their 2005 debut album, PCD. Listen to "Buttons' audio sample (help·info).In 2005, The Pussycat Dolls released their debut album PCD. The album debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, selling about 100,000 copies. It has produced four singles. "Don't Cha" (featuring Busta Rhymes, originally recorded by Tori Alamaze) became their first major hit. The follow-up, "Stickwitu", became the group's first U.S. # 1 Billboard Pop Radio hit,it went on to sell over a million digital downloads in the world and became their second #1 single in the UK. The third single, "Beep," featured Black Eyed Peas lead rapper will.i.am. They recently released their latest single, "Buttons," featuring Snoop Dogg which followed in the success of the previous singles and went straight into the top 3 on the UK singles chart, #3. The group's final single has been confirmed as the high tempo, club track Wait A Minute and is set for release on August 2006, in North America and I Don't Need A Man will be released Worldwide.
The Pussycat Dolls are proving to be a recognised female group as MTV Hits (UK) marks them as #1 in Top 10 Female Groups (July 2006) beating #2 Destiny's Child and #7 Spice Girls. Furthermore, securing #1 in VH1's (UK) 'Top 20 Sexiest' and #2 in TMF's Ultimate 20 Women in Pop (August 2006).
The group won a Billboard Music Award for "Don't Cha" as Top Hot/Dance Club Play Single of the Year. The song was also nominated for Top-Selling Single of the Year and Top-Selling Dance Single of the Year.
At the SXSW music conference in 2006, Interscope lawyer Darryl Franklin said, during a panel discussion, that the contract with the group is unique in that its members are actually salaried employees of the record label and, by design, completely interchangeable. This means that in addition to CD sales, the label also controls merchandise, web sites and all other commercial aspects of the group and their income, excluding song publishing.
Most recently, the Pussycat Dolls have ventured into the virtual world. In 2006, San Francisco-based company Doppelganger (along with Interscope Records) launched the PCD Music Lounge, an interactive website.
On June 30th's VSpot Top 20 Countdown, host Matt Pinfield announced that lead singer Nicole Scherzinger has written 12 new songs for the follow-up album to 2005's PCD.