May 18, 2016
Nancy Drew series deemed “too female” for CBS
by Julia Fleischaker
Nancy Drew is one of the most iconic and enduring characters to come out of children’s literature. Since the first book was published in 1930, Nancy Drew Mystery Stories have sold millions of copies and inspired countless women, among them three female Supreme Court Justices, and a former Secretary of State who will probably be our first female president. So, in the age of “reboots,” it seems like a natural for a TV series! Right?! Well, maybe not. And you’ll never believe the reason.
According to Nellie Andreeva at Deadline, “Drew is not going forward at CBS but is being shopped to other outlets by CBS TV Studios. I hear the pilot tested well but skewed too female for CBS’ schedule.”
The series drew headlines when it was announced that Drew would be in her thirties and played by a “diverse” actress. At the time (January 2016), CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller explained their decision to The Hollywood Reporter:
“She is diverse, that is the way she is written,” the executive told THR immediately following his time in front of the press at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour Tuesday. While Geller said it was too early in the process to explain just what he meant by diverse — whether Nancy is African-American, Asian-American or Latino, he said it would hinge on finding the right actress for the part. “[She will] not [be] Caucasian,” he stressed. “I’d be open to any ethnicity.”
Actress Sarah Shahi, whose parents are Iranian and Spanish, eventually landed the part of Drew, but, never mind, because the portrayal of the icon was just too female.
In the year 2016, a show starring the character who inspired Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey is considered too female for CBS. Take heart, though; that MacGyver reboot you and all your friends have been clamoring for (you have been clamoring, right?)? That got the greenlight from, yes, CBS.
Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.