Diverse Nancy Drew Drama Among CBS Pilot Orders

Tony Phelan Joan Rater Split - H 2013
Courtesy of Subjects

Tony Phelan Joan Rater Split - H 2013

CBS has officially entered pilot season, picking up a drama based on Nancy Drew and a family comedy based on an Australian format.

Drew, from Grey's Anatomy alums Joan Rater and Tony Phelan, is described as a contemporary take on the character from the Nancy Drew book series. Now in her 30s, Nancy is a detective for the NYPD, where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world.

CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller told The Hollywood Reporter that his network's Nancy Drew will be diverse, though it is too early to determine whether she will be African-American, Asian-American or Latino. The exec said the role would hinge on finding the right actress for the part. "[She will] not [be] Caucasian," he stressed. "I'd be open to any ethnicity."  

From CBS Television Studios, Rater and Phelan will pen the script and executive produce alongside Dan Jinks.

On the comedy side, the network has picked up an untitled hybrid entry from Dan O'Shannon, Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope. The co-production between CBS Television Studios and ABC Studios — in association with Dark Toy Entertainment — is inspired by the Australian format Upper Middle Bogan and centers on a wife and mother who learns she was adopted and that her birth parents are a flamboyant but loving family of drag-racers.

O'Shannon and Butler (Modern Family, The Odd Couple) as well as Hope will pen the script and exec produce. Butler and Hope created the original series (which is currently airing its third season). Todd Holland (The Real O'Neals) is also on board to exec produce.

Drew and the untitled comedy mark CBS' first official pilot orders of the season. They join Doubt, which was redeveloped after failing to make the series-order cut last season. Sources say Doubt — which also hails from Rater and Phelan — is heating up for a series pickup, with Katherine Heigl attached to star.

For CBS, Drew comes as the network — under new entertainment boss Geller — has made diversity a priority. It comes on the heels of CBS' Supergirl, which was picked up under Geller's predecessor, Nina Tassler, as part of her female-empowerment push.

Keep up with all the latest pilot news with THR's handy guide to pilot season.