The CW’s “Nancy Drew”: Real Ghosts, Frank Sex, Diverse Cast and 2019 Sensibility – TCA

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Producers of the CW’s new series Nancy Drew solved one mystery right off the bat at today’s TCA panel: The ghost is real.

The ghost is Dead Lucy, who wore the crown of Horseshoe Bay’s Sea Queen for just one night in the year 2000 before dying at age 17. Yes, she is not a mere figment of the imagination in the series, producers confirmed.

Executive producer Noga Landau used the word “ghosts,” plural, to describe the supernatural element of the show, which stars Kennedy McMann as the teenage sleuth reinvented for 2019 with an emotionally complicated Nancy, an accelerated pace, and a diverse cast.

“There are ghosts in our show,” Landau said. “(But) most of the things that are supernatural are rooted in something that is mysteriously happening in the real world.”

Executive producer Melinda Hsu Taylor described the supernatural element as “a condiment” to the storytelling, rather than the main course. Taylor also said the murder mystery introduced in the Season 1 pilot episode would unravel throughout the season, but in each episode, “another mini-mystery will be revealed to us. Every week is going to be satisfying as well.”

Landau and Taylor appeared on a large panel that also included EPs Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, Lis Rowinski, co-executive producer/director Larry Teng, and actors McMann, Wolf, Alex Saxon, Leah Lewis, Maddison Jaizani, Tunji Kasim, Riley Smith and Alvina August.

In response to a question, the producers addressed the re-casting of the role of Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, replacing Freddie Prinze Jr. with Scott Wolf.  “(It was) a natural part of the casting process. It was very amicable,” Savage said.

Producers said they believe CW’s young viewers are ready for a Nancy who, among other things, is depicted having sex with boyfriend Ned Nickerson (Kasim). “(The show) is not necessarily  designed for 12-year-olds, we made the show for the CW,” Savage said.

McMann said her character reflects a 2019 sensibility. “I just think there’s a little more risk now, especially regarding women. (There is ) much less taboo in showing women how they actually are,” she said. “She is very prim and proper in the 1930s. In a more modern context, there is just a broader market for a lot riskier material.”

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