New ideas for TV shows are constantly being thought up of and ultimately, in most cases, this leads to network pitches to try and make the show available to audiences. Now it’s pretty obvious that not every show can be picked up, so rejection is very common and the reasoning behind the rejection, in most cases, is pretty justifiable or at least understandable. But to reject a show simply because it is “too female” is a statement I honestly never expected to ever hear. Yet this is exactly what happened with the new reboot of Nancy Drew.
‘Drew’, written and produced by former Grey’s Anatomy show runners Tony Phelan and Joan Rater was set to be a contemporary TV adaptation of Nancy Drew, starring Sarah Shahi as Nancy – now in her 30s and working as a detective for the NYPD.
Wow! The outpour of love from women AND MEN is incredible. But all good! Something amazing is around the corner. #toofemale
— Sarah Shahi (@onlysarahshahi) 15 May 2016
It’s painfully clear just how powerful a show like this could be as the novels in which it’s based upon have had worldwide sales of around 80 million copies. So clearly not only does “too female” work, but the show already has an existing audience, and having a female lead would have undoubtedly pulled in even more viewers.
Also taking into account the fact that ‘Person of Interest’ star Sarah Shahi is set to be the lead of the show would have most definitely given ‘Drew’ an even bigger boost, as not only is she a powerhouse of a performer with a strong fan-base, but she’s a WOC- meaning it would have provided greater diverse representation to an audience that is severely lacking it and would thus make the show stand out even more in the market.
The real reason people don’t watch many shows about WoC is because people only watch shows that exist. #TooFemale
— Jenny Jaffe (@jennyjaffe) 15 May 2016
— Valerie Anne (@PunkyStarshine) 16 May 2016
So what exactly is “too female”? An explanation would be greatly appreciated as I’m eager to hear what about this show was the nail in the coffin. In my eyes, it seems CBS just saw “female lead” and instantly some men shook in their seats at the utter thought of a positive and powerful portrayal of a woman. Seriously though, what scares them more – the thought of a female in a lead role? Or the thought of a female being in a lead role and people actually wanting to watch it?
— Kathleen Smith (@fangirltherapy) 15 May 2016
— Dened Rey (@Hajabeg) 15 May 2016
What’s even more outrageous with CBS’ rejection is that the pilot did in fact test well with audiences, clearly showing that it is something that people would watch and invest their time in, yet obviously any association with women completely overrules this.
51% of the worlds population is female, so please inform me as to how a show being “too female” would not be of any interest to that demographic? Are you seriously just going to blacklist that entire market? And anyway, it’s not like the show would fail to appeal to men either – as CBS just in case you were confused – this isn’t 1920 and you do not need to completely assume only women would be interested in a show starring a woman.
The BS of Nancy Drew being “too female” reflects our culture dictating that “girl” stories are for girls and “boy” stories are for everyone
— Lucy Hallowell (@lucyhallowell) 15 May 2016
Why are they trying to justify “too female” as a reason for rejection anyway? It’s been proven on countless occasions that “too female” creates mass network success and popularity amongst all audiences. Just take a look at the Netflix hits ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ and Shonda Rhimes’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Scandal’ which both draw in millions of viewers every week.
— Rebecca Barrick (@RebeccaBarrick) 15 May 2016
I mean come on, how many times have we all seen the same male-driven-dramas be reproduced over and over again on our screens? Please just give us some change, give us some diversity and give us some decent representation. If we were to take away every show that was “too male”, “too white” or “too straight” there would be very little left for anyone to watch.
We need diversity in TV and if a show that’s going to provide millions of people with a strong and empowering character to look up to gets rejected for being “too female”, what chance do the rest of producers looking to get their show on air have?
This isn’t CBS’ first big mistake though, as they’ve already released the hit show ‘Supergirl’ to the CW. (Whether this is a good thing or not after the treatment of women on The 100, though, is a completely different story). Why did they move it off CBS? I think the reason behind the move is painstakingly obvious now as the network clearly has an issue with women in TV. Interestingly (and rather too conveniently) they had absolutely no issue picking up the new male-centric shows such as ‘Training Day’ and ‘MacGyver’, were they not “too male” for you? Or did you forget to send the memo that nothing could ever be “too male”? My bad.
CBS reaches 112,811,000 homes across the U.S. Sadly none of those home have females. #TooFemale
— Writing Writer (@WritingRighter) May 15, 2016
#toofemale is code for “this wasn’t written under the male gaze, it doesn’t cater to my male taste. I’m uncomfortable”
— Laura (@Lrbcn) May 15, 2016
But thanks CBS, not only have you showcased your ridiculous sexist standards but you’ve made the world all the more aware of ‘Drew’, so here’s hoping that it finds it’s place in TV where it’s potential can be showcased, and thanks to your idiocy, we’re all now ready and waiting to tune in the second the pilot airs on our screens.