CBS: New Nancy Drew Can Be ‘Any Ethnicity’ Except White

CBS Entertainment’s reboot of the classic series Nancy Drew will feature a “diverse” actress in the lead role, an executive for the network said Thursday. CBS is reportedly not considering white actresses for the part.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena on Tuesday, CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller told the Hollywood Reporter that while the network would be “open to any ethnicity” when considering actresses to play the iconic young sleuth, the character [will] not [be] Caucasian.”

“She is diverse, that is the way she was written,” Geller told THR.

CBS announced development had begun on a new Nancy Drew television series in October.

The new show, based on the popular series of young adult novels written by multiple authors under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene, is described as a “contemporary take” on the character that follows a 30-something Drew, now an NYPD detective, as she “investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world.”

The iconic detective was featured in five feature films beginning in the 1930s, with the most recent one being 2007’s Nancy Drew, starring Emma Roberts as the titular heroine, reports Deadline. ABC aired the short-lived television series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries from 1977-79, and released the TV movie Nancy Drew in 2002.

In his earlier remarks at the TCA press tour, Geller said that the network valued the importance of diverse casting in its television development this season.

“We have a lot of new series in development, both series targeted to have full African-American or Latino casts but also many leads that are being developed [as diverse],” he said. “We’re not casting color blind, we’re casting color conscious.”

The debate over diversity’s role in casting practices exploded early last year, when Deadline published an article titled “Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings — About Time or Too Much of a Good Thing?” The article quoted some Hollywood television executives who suggested that an increased focus on hiring diverse actors for lead roles meant white actors were being overlooked. Deadline issued an apology and changed the headline of the article after a massive backlash from minority advocacy groups.

The trend of diverse casting practices continued this week, as Netflix announced Monday that it ordered a 13-episode all-Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic series One Day At a Time. Last week, Starz announced it had ordered three new all-Latino television series, including a supernatural thriller that will be set in Cuba.


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