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Tonight at 9 p.m. ET on The CW, “Nancy Drew” will debut, providing an updated take on the life and times of its titular character with rookie actress Kennedy McMann starring as history’s most celebrated fictional female detective.
Loosely based on the 175-book “Nancy Drew Mystery Stories” novel series, which was published from 1930 to 2003, tonight’s “Nancy Drew” premiere will mix love, nostalgia, the supernatural and other clichés in a classic small-town setting. Expect textbook CW young-adult programming; i.e., see Vulture’s take: “The CW’s Nancy Drew Won’t Directly Adapt Any Books, But It Will Be Horny.”
As Nancy and her friends set out to prove who (or what) killed one of Horseshoe Bay’s most prominent socialites, The CW’s production will become the latest installment in the whiz detective’s long, fraught TV history.
To date, the most successful attempt to bring Nancy Drew to television was when she was paired with the Hardy Boys for a three-season series that aired on ABC in the late ’70s. Nancy Drew also appeared in her own Canadian-made TV show in 1995, though that series was canceled halfway through its first season due to low ratings.
Multiple Nancy Drew-led shows have also been axed before airing over the years, beginning with a joint Desilu-CBS venture that failed in 1957, leading to the cancelation of the character’s planned TV debut. And as recently as 2017, NBC was in talks to redevelop a pilot for a series titled “Drew” that CBS passed on the previous year.