January 09, 2012 11:14am PT by Philiana Ng
TCA: 'Jane By Design' Creator Addresses 'Devil Wears Prada' Comparisons
ABC Family touted new fashion drama Jane By Design at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour on Monday morning and one of the big questions raised was: Is it a mere copy of The Devil Wears Prada?
Jane By Design follows fashion-forward (but uncool) high schooler Jane Quimby (Erica Dasher) as she tries to balance her professional life working for a high-powered fashion insider with school.
"It's easy to equate them because there are some slight similarities but they really aren't the same thing," star Andie MacDowell, who plays Gray, told a roomful of reporters in Pasadena. Even so, reporters made mention of Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter Is Dead, about a teen who scams her way into working at fashion company to help her family.
Creator April Blair, who The Hollywood Reporter interviewed recently, admitted that she had never seen Don't Tell Mom, saying instead that Jane By Design is closer to another film. "It's more Working Girl," she said.
MacDowell's role was greatly expanded after the pilot. "We weren't sure how much Andie would be available [during the pilot," Blair said, but she will appear in all 10 episodes. Executive producer Gavin Polone, who previously worked with Blair on an HBO pilot, interjected with a joke: "We basically lied to her about" how much shed have to work.
To keep the authenticity, there are several "subtle cameos" throughout the series, with appearances from Betsy Johnson, W's editor in chief Stefano Tonchi, Nanette Lepore, Teen Vogue editor Amy Astley, Patricia Fields and Lucky editor Brandon Holley, just to name a few.
When asked whether the writers give much thought to the logic with some of the storylines, Blair said the show is a fantasy. "I don't dwell on them," she said. "To get mired in that would be to lose what's important about the show, the metaphor of the double life."
In the first two episodes, a framework for a potential love triangle (and possibly love square) was introduced, but does that mean a romance may be brewing between Jane and supportive best friend Billy (Nicholas Roux), one of the only people to know Jane's double life secret?
"In my heart, they belong together," Blair offered. "We haven't really plotted it out." Basically, don't any drastic revelations in the first 10 episodes.
At the end of the session, a candid Polone teased that ABC Family president Michael Riley was ready to announce more episodes for Jane By Design.
There will be more episodes because Michael is going to announce it, Polone joked to light laughter in the room as Riley stood at the podium to wrap up the panel.
Jane By Design airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.