Nancy Drew Pilot Cancelled CBS

Nancy Drew Pilot Nixed at CBS

The Case of the Pilot in Limbo is closed: CBS won’t pursue a series for its potential Nancy Drew drama Drew, our sister site Deadline reports.

Drew was one of two projects from Tony Phelan and Joan Rater (Grey’s Anatomy, Madam Secretary) in consideration at the network; the other, the Katherine Heigl-starring Doubt, received a series order Saturday.

Drew, loosely based on the popular young adult mystery series, had the iconic sleuth — now in her 30s and played by Person of Interest‘s Sarah Shahi — using her “uncanny observational skills” to work as a NYPD detective at the same time she navigated “the complexities of life in a modern world.” Anthony Edwards (ER), newcomer Rob McClure and Felix Solis (The Family, NYC 22) were slated to co-star.

Deadline reports that the pilot tested well with audiences but was deemed “too female” for the network, which also would have had trouble finding it a spot on the schedule; CBS TV Studios, which produced the pilot, will shop it to other outlets.

Got thoughts about Drew‘s fate? Sound off in the comments!

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  1. Lauren says:

    ‘Too female’? Wow. This is why I watch exactly zero shows on CBS now the Good Wife is done.

    • dan says:

      They’ve got Madame Secretary and now the new show with Kathryn Heigl to “replace” Good Wife. Guess three shows centered on a woman was one too many. Wonder if this helps create room for Code Black and Limitless to be renewed.

    • dioxinblues says:

      “Too female.” Wow. Okay. That’s….why I won’t be watching CBS after Person of Interest completes its run.

      • CG robb says:

        ‘Too female’, not really sure, why that is a reason to not put it on the air. Too female is good thing

    • Lucifer says:

      The outrage over this is just laughable. If you check the article on Deadline, it clearly says “I hear the pilot tested well but skewed too female for CBS’ schedule.” So first off, it’s a rumor that has not been confirmed ac actually coming from anyone at CBS. And if it was one of the reasons, then it obviously means that ‘Drew’ skewed too high with female audiences and it wouldn’t have survived without a decent sized male audience. This usually happens the other way around as networks tend to prefer or demand a high viewership in women.

    • Osiris says:

      Supergirl’s failure probably scared them off.

  2. El S Boy says:

    i need Sarah Shahi on my TV

  3. Boston2AZ says:

    This was a dumb idea anyway. Nancy Drew in her 30’s as an NYPD detective is NOT Nancy Drew. It’s some other show. But here’s my free advice for CBS: Instead of ordering yet another show with Katherine Heigl that is doomed to fail because people just don’t like her, why not take that pilot and give it to Sarah Shahi, an actress that people actually enjoy watching?

  4. Briana says:

    WTF does “too female” mean?

    • Nate says:

      It means at doesn’t appeal to men enough to capture that audience. Let’s not be naive people…whether it is female/male, white/black/asian/hispanic/etc, networks want to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Why in the world would the network want to put a show out there that (if true) doesn’t appeal to 49% of their viewing audience? Who puts out a product that doesn’t appeal to basically 50% of its consumer base?

      • Britt says:

        But they haven’t had any problems making shows that are way “too male”? The other 50% gets what they want and that’s okay? And when it’s one show, it’s too much?

        • M3rc_Nate says:

          First off, what show is “too male” that is on CBS right now? I look at their lineup and everything has appeal to both sexes. Secondly males and females aren’t the same. A show that is quite “male” in its appeal can still draw a fairly nice female audience. But a show that is quite “girly” in its appeal is a turn off to male viewers and they don’t typically watch.
          How many guys (REALLY) watched Sex & The City? Watch Jane the Virgin? Watch other girly shows? I doubt many at all. But how many women watch shows like Justified? Sons of Anarchy? Game of Thrones? and other typically “guy” shows? A lot.
          A networks ideal show is Friday Night Lights, one that appeals to females of all ages, males of all ages, is a fan favorite and a critical success.
          There are shows that skew fairly heavily to the female, look at Greys Anatomy viewership. It isn’t like those shows didn’t get picked up. Maybe CBS for that exact timeslot didn’t want a show that skewed so heavily female.

          • That is because women and minorities have been conditioned to watch white, male, heterosexual shows. That POV isn’t actually universal. It’s a construction of the dominant being in power. Maybe men should get more used to watching from points of view other than their own.

          • DJ Doena says:


            I’m a white European, German male. By all rights I should be a soccer fan and a beer enthusiast. I’m neither.

            And while I do a good romantic comedy every now and then, if it gets “too girly” I’m just out. It doesn’t hold any interest to me, just like soccer (or American Football for that matter) doesn’t.

            And what would that point “other than their own” be? Wasn’t SatC the show where the women were always on the hunt for Mister Right? Rich, handsome and good in bed? If that’s the kind of guy women are truly after, why wouldn’t they also watch shows that men like, where these men are portrayed as exactly that?

          • Lucifer says:

            @tvwillrotyourbrain, your name should be “progressivismwillrotyourbrain”

          • Britt says:

            Justified? Sons of Anarchy? Game of Thrones? These are NOT guy shows. You liking it won’t make it a “guy show”.

            You are allowed to identify with any character, man, woman, anything else. When I first saw Ghostbusters, I wanted to be a ghostbuster. I didn’t want to be a secretary. I wanted to be Egon. And I wanted to be Indiana Jones. And Marty McFly. And Captain Jack Sparrow.
            I know they are men. Everything is men. But I think women learned to identify with anyone because we are underrepresented.

            It’s not my fault guys label shows “girly” and feel like they shouldn’t watch them.

          • Lucifer says:

            “I think women learned to identify with anyone because we are underrepresented.”

            Sorry, but that’s simply a feminist talking point that erases the fact that boys and men have no issue watching female protagonists or seeing themselves in them. However, the “girly shows” are ones that are ridiculously girly and tend to be guilty-pleasure types of shows like Jane the Virgin, Gossip Girl, Glee, Pretty Little Liars, etc. I also heavily disagree with the claim that TV underrepresents women when most networks have female-lead shows, male/female co-leads, or evenly balanced ensemble shows.

            Drew wasn’t axed because it was “girly,” it was axed because of two reasons: 1) It skewed too high with female viewers and too low with male viewers for whatever reason in the test screenings. This causes a problem when finding a time slot to place the show as it would not survive paired with shows that do well with both genders or mostly men. I would like to also note that networks and advertisers actually tend to care about female viewership more on average. 2) According to The Hollywood Reporter’s list of pilots that they were surprised didn’t get ordered to series, the reason they gave was that it was directly competing with “Doubt” for a time slot and it ultimately went to the show with the lead whom had more star power.

      • Eurydice says:

        Well, it’s not clear that 50% of CBS’s audience is male. It seems to me that it’s mostly older females. If you said that CBS might be trying to increase its share of younger males, then that might make sense – but it still doesn’t explain Heigl.

        • Z says:

          Heigl is taking the Good Wife’s place, a two hour block with Madam Secretary that appeals to women on a low rated night for CBS like Sunday. It’s a specific strategy. It will not air next to Scorpion or NCIS or other CBS’s male oriented hit shows.

  5. Kevin K says:

    What a disappointment for CBS and still no word on the fate of their shows – Code Black, Limitless and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Have a feeling Rush Hour has a 100% chance of getting canceled soon.

  6. laura says:

    Too female? ridiculous

  7. sarah31733 says:

    I really hope one of the reports who work at TvLine.Com ask CBS president what the hell “too female” means. This certainly deserves as much or more attention that was given to The Good Wife split scene debacle

    • PatriciaLee says:

      My gut was telling me that meant mostly (only) women were interested in watching it, “…tested well with audiences but…” Too bad, I like Sarah Shahi. It would have been fun to have a female Elementary-type.

      • Ray says:

        You nailed it. CBS has built its dominance on spinoffs and cookie-cutter shows. This show sounded exactly like an Elementary spinoff which i did not mind because Elementary and Person Of Interesr are my 2 favorite CBS shows. So heres to hoping this show lands elsewhere, or at least Sarah.

    • jtrattray says:

      I think since Nina Tassler has gone they’re getting rid of all the female lead shows. Doesn’t that now leave CBS with 2 female lead shows? (Mom and Madam Secretary).

      • Lucifer says:

        2 Broke Girls and Katherine Heigl’s new show.

        • Mariana Trench says:

          Oh yeah….can’t forget Katherine Heigl. They greenlit this strictly because they think she’ll reel in the guys. And then give them a count for a female lead show. All at the same time. When Sarah Shai can run rings around Heigl. Oh well… just another cancellation for CBS in the future. Just when will be the question.

    • quang says:

      I can explain. TV scheduling is often about about demographic for the advertisers. A show with a female skewing audience will struggle when placed next to shows that have a mostly male audience, and vise-versa.

      Example 1 – Nikita had a mostly male audience and was failing to retain the girls who were watching The Vampire Dairies (or it could have been supernatural, can’t remember), so the writers promised a tweak the show to ad more romance and less darkness.

      Example 2 – ABC’s The Last Ship, which was a male-centric show that struggled because the network didn’t have room for it due to ABC’s being mostly composed of female friendly shows.

      • truth says:

        But the most highly sought after demo is females 18-50.

      • Z says:

        It was airing after the Vampire Diaries, a teen soap. The specifically added hunky love interestes to the two ladies in the second part of the first season. Spring 2011.

  8. EL says:

    Remember that Les Moonves at CBS thinks Donald Trump is great for the network so ‘too female’ just about fits his profile. Shahi definitely deserves better.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      He said good for network ratings money rolling in, not his preference or profile, which probably doesn’t exist. Do heads of anything, these days, have any kind of personal profile other than success, backing whatever provides it? (if you get my drift) Shahi will land on her feet, brilliant and entertaining actress. I loved her in Life, which they should reboot.

    • Patrick says:

      If men don’t watch a show, it will fail. If women won’t watch a show, it will fail. If a net feels that a show skews too much towards one gender, its not worth airing.
      Not that it matters. Gender preferences weren’t why this failed.
      It failed because it took a giant dump on a character that a lot of people know and love. This was not a Nancy Drew story. Someone wrote a good, but not great, female cop/detective show. It needed a hook, and since CBS Studios owned the script and CBS owns Nancy Drew rights, they retconned the script into a ND story. I am willing to bet that what happened was is that some writer who had a deal with CBS turned in a script that was OK. They just went back and changed the lead character’s name to Nancy Drew, and threw in a few references to ND characters. And then pitched it as a retelling of ND. It is a naked grab to attract people who liked ND.
      Sarah Shahi isn’t a tall red head. She’s a short middle eastern goddess with fantastic acting ability who is amazingly talented. But she looks nothing like ND. And that ran a real problem of turning off some ND fans. CBS didn’t not enjoy the kerfuffle around the Supergirl casting of Jimmy Olsen. That made them gun-shy about this. If the script had been good, it wouldn’t have needed to be Nancy Drew. Lets hope she gets a better project.

      • Christian says:

        Men watch their girlfriends/wives tell them to watch! Don’t try and act like you have free will in the matter. It’s the truth!

  9. Joe Black says:

    Tell CBS to look at Castle over at ABC……….get rid of the female lead……show cancelled, that’s what is going to happen to CBS at a much larger scale!!!!!
    TOO FEMALE!!!! In the 21st century…..WTF@#$!%^&

  10. Shaun says:

    Sarah is saved!!Now she can join something better.

  11. couldn’t care less about the show itself i just want Sarah Shahi back on my tv for longer than person of interest is gonna be on. maybe she can try to get on another established show

  12. Victoria says:

    I thought the main problem was that this was presented as like every NYC cop show out there. Nancy Drew is more fun as a teen detective.

  13. “Too female”???? Wow, the Misogyny Monster lives on at CBS – you realize we make up at least half the audience, yes, CBS? Idiots.

    • Nate says:

      OR they are smart and don’t want to put a show out there that they feel doesn’t appeal to 50% of their consumer base…? What smart business man/woman puts out a product that right out of the gates alienates 50% of potential buyers? That is the dumbest business decision ever.

  14. KLS says:

    Pitch it to ABC. I hear they are the “female network” now.
    Seriously, Sarah and Vanessa Ferlito need to get cast in some good shows.
    Katherine Heigel seems to be one of the “protected ones”. (an actor/actress, even with few sucesses, repeatedly gets cast in new projects).

  15. George H. says:

    They nixed this, but gave Katherine Heigl the greenlight? Like that’s not gonna come back and bite them in the butt later, especially if Nancy Drew gets picked up elsewhere and does well. And silly that they think it’s “too female”. Must have been a group of guys who came up with that.


    I have been saying that repeatedly to myself and it just keeps sounding more ridiculous each time. Wow. That’s okay, CBS, guess your fragile male egos over there just can’t handle that awesomeness. Too female… that is so laughably stupid. A better network better pick this show up because I want it even more now. Gimme all the “too female” shows.

    • KLS says:

      Which one is the “better network”?

    • Lucifer says:

      Seems like you’re the one with a fragile ego, along with the babies crying about it all over the net. I know this might be difficult to process, but the not everything is due to misogyny. The unconfirmed “too female” comment simply was about how the audience skewed too much with women and not enough with men. From a business standpoint, it’s foolish to greenlight a show with those results.

  17. Hurley says:

    Too female? WTF CBS!

  18. Hurley says:

    Imagine if they hadn’t greenlit Grey’s Anatomy back in 2004 because it was “too female”!!

  19. Adele says:

    This is the one new pilot that I was looking forward to. I rather see Sarah Shahi over anything Katherine Heigl is in.

  20. Ange says:

    I think they may regret this. Maybe they are breathing life back into Persons of Interest

  21. Angie says:

    Noooooooooo! Why? I’ve read the previews of the other new shows and it’s all supernatural, movies-to-tv shows, superhero and vampires. A female show is what? Too normal? Too realistic? C’mon.

  22. Kim R says:

    I’m going to ignore the “too female” thing for now and just say that I don’t think this premise would have worked. The draw to Nancy Drew is the nostalgia and the books that a lot of us grew up reading. When you change that aspect, it is no longer Nancy Drew as we knew her. It would just be another detective drama with no sentimental attachment at all which I’m assuming was the reason behind using the Nancy Drew story to begin with.

  23. MsThsng says:

    Drew snd Supergirl should have been a good back-to-back block for CBS

    • c-mo says:

      Well since Supergirl is moving to the CW they wouldn’t have been back to back…they might have been opposite each other but never back to back.

  24. Et al. says:

    How can a show be “too female” for a network whose primary demographic is women 59-death?

  25. Murica! says:

    I would choose a show starring Sara Shahi over Katherine Heigl any day of the week.

  26. Well I’m a male and I really wanted to watch this. So there.

  27. KLS says:

    I still think Molly Quinn (red head from Castle) would make a good Nancy Drew.

  28. iHeart says:

    CBS chose a drama led by Katherine Heigl over this? #ScrewYouCBS

  29. Julie Lamb says:

    Wow.. again, something I want to see but I am a female…. Seems that advertisers don’t want female viewers. Who balances the check book in my house? Who does the shopping? Who does the research for goods and services? This could have been one I would watch. I am not into Gray’s or Scandal. Too much crossing the line. It is a shame CBS can’t see that.

    • Lucifer says:

      Advertisers do prefer shows to have higher female audiences, but it seems that Drew skewed far too high with female audiences and far too low with males. There are other points brought up by Patrick and quang above.

  30. kirads09 says:

    :-( I was looking forward to this. “too female” – huh??? My own pilot dream idea is Debra Messing as a modern day Brenda Starr reporter/journalist. Maybe for another network though. Focus groups might consider that too female too.

  31. Night Owl says:

    I’m disappointed. I was looking forward to the show. Of course, it is what it is, but it’s truly a shame.

  32. Song4Ten says:

    They chose Doubt over Nancy Drew because a Transgender cast member is the politically correct and most buzz worthy choice.

    • Cheryl says:

      IMO this transgender cast member is a better actress than Shahi. Also, Doubt have Dulé Hill who’s also an amazing actor. I’m not a fan of Heigl but the rest of the cast in Doubt is worth watching.

      • Babygate says:

        Disagree completely. Love Laverne Cox but Sarah Shahi has delivered some powerful performances. As tomorrow’s POI episode will show. And she can do both drama and comedy effortlessly. Not to mention she can do action better than any female actor on tv with the possible exception of Danai in Walking Dead. Laverne is still growing in this craft. They are in completely different levels.

        • Cheryl says:

          ” she can do both drama and comedy effortlessly. Not to mention she can do action better than any female actor on tv ”

          You’ve just described Amy Acker here. By the way she still hasn’t gotten any leading roles even in failed pilots but I don’t see anyone screaming about this.

  33. Andrew says:

    This was never going to work anyway, based on the fact that they couldn’t respect the source material the character originated from.

  34. Cassfan says:

    It’s 2016. Too female. Really?

  35. lrdslvrhnd says:

    Just as well. Nancy Drew as a cop in her 30s isn’t Nancy Drew. It’s just a cop in her 30s. Veronica Mars was way more Nancy Drew than this would ever have been. Heck, Murder She Wrote was more Nancy Drew than this idea!
    MAYBE as a PI in her 30s, or a consultant in her 30s… but not an actual cop with a badge and a gun.

  36. Cassfan says:

    And how many shows CBS cancelled because they were too male?

  37. Jackie says:

    Idiots! They’re missing out on a huge audience.

  38. Babygate says:

    How is CBS not embarassed about this? This should have been a no-brainer for a network for a reputation of being too male centric. This was the only pilot I was looking forward to. I hope that ABC will rescue it. Considering how many duds they have on their slate (The Catch and Star-Cross for example). CBS knows Sarah Shahi can deliver. How did they pass on this? Especially when it tested well.

  39. danoregon says:

    Should have made her a private eye.

  40. Kayla says:

    If they had kept Supergirl and matched it with this, they could have billed it as a badass women’s night. So much shortshightedness.

  41. Ram510 says:

    Good, we didn’t need it

  42. HAP says:

    Bad decision by the network. However, it may be a blessing in disguise for my fave Sarah Shahi. That show was to shoot in New York. Now, she can stay home in Los Angeles with her baby and hubby Steve Howey and get some local work. Hope to see her again, soon.

  43. Vince says:

    De-age Nancy and move it to CW for next season.

  44. kmw says:

    This whole “too female” nonsense is just par for the course at CBS. Why would they order this show to a pilot if they didn’t already know it would skew female? Seriously CBS needs to get their act together and realize females will watch a good show whether or not it leans male or female

  45. Solari says:

    CBS is too male (and old) for me, so I don’t watch any of their programming. I suppose if they don’t want viewers, this is a good way to go about it.

  46. Max says:

    Nancy Drew grown up and in NYC was a bad idea from the start. Maybe they should instead develop a Hardy Boys series with the more age appropriate Carver twins.

  47. Cynthia says:

    I was so excited to see this show! So many shows have been taken away, now this which no one has even been allowed to see! :0(
    I really hope the executives find another studio that I have access to.

  48. Larry bloom says:

    Too bad… She is a great actor and I remember the books from when I was younger

  49. CBS didn’t realize Nancy was a female name?

    I guess CBS is nostalgic for that over 50’s Silver Fox Demo, only old-dudes, and slow, but emotional special agents on this network.

    This(dropping Drew for being #TooFemale), and Cote de Pablo saying ‘no thank you’ to the DiNozzo send-off, because the writers didn’t respect Ziva….. doesn’t bode well, CBS is shooting themselves in the foot.