Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The CW took center stage at TCA in Pasadena this morning with a supersized panel of 9 actors and 4 executive producers representing The Carrie Diaries, the new ensemble Sex And The City prequel that premieres tomorrow night at 8. One obvious question was why this show wound up on CW rather than, say, HBO, the home of its predecessor. “We always felt this was predestined for The CW,” stressed exec producer Josh Schwartz.” Fellow exec producer Amy B. Harris, a Sex And The City staff writing alum who is running Carrie Diaries, related that Warner Bros. originally asked Sex showrunner Michael Patrick King if he was interested in turning writer Candace Bushnell’s book into a series, but he was busy with CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and suggested they approach Harris. “It just felt right in every way for The CW to be the perfect home for it”, she said. It gave us the chance to tell fun, provocative high school stories.” In other words, HBO perhaps would have proved too niche-y and limiting for the soapier series the producers had in mind.
Bushnell was asked why the Carrie Bradshaw whom we see in Carrie Diaries is somewhat younger than the one in her book. She called the fact her character is now 16 and a virgin invading New York City for the first time “an evolution, just as the Sex and the City franchise itself has evolved over time… The reality is, books and TV series are like apples and oranges. A book has a beginning, a middle and an end, whereas a TV series you want to go on and on and on. There are certain requirements of a series that shape a lot of the decisions in taking a book to series. You have to kind of throw everything out and start over.” She professed that she “couldn’t be happier” with the way the series has turned out.
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What does TV’s original Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker, think of the new, younger version of her? Carrie Diaries star AnnaSophia Robb said Parker sent her a congratulatory note after she landed the part and says she’s been “great and unbelievably supportive, just so generous and magnanimous. She said, ‘I’m so happy you’re carrying this torch’.” Other than that, Harris said that one of the major challenges of the new series has been to keep the nostalgic integrity of the 1984 period in which it’s set while shooting on the streets of Manhattan. “Every single extra goes through hair and makeup to be absolutely ’80s,” she said. “Being authentic to the period is really important.”