The CW Developing New Nancy Drew Series

The real mystery is if fans of the popular YA book series will watch a show based on the iconic character.

Female Sleuth From Behind
Bogdan Sonjachnyj / Shutterstock

The real mystery is if fans of the popular YA book series will watch a show based on the iconic character.

Nancy Drew has been solving mysteries much longer than Jessica Fletcher, Olivia Benson, and Charlie’s Angels combined, so it’s about time the fictional character gets a thoroughly modern television series.

According to Deadline, the CW is developing a new series based on the classic sleuth. The network is working with executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (Dynasty, Gossip Girl), and EP/writer Noga Landau (The Magicians) on a drama inspired by the star of more than 100 books, who made her first appearance in the 1930 tome The Secret of the Old Clock.

The proposed untitled new series will focus on an 18-year-old Nancy Drew, a recent high school graduate. The summer before she’s supposed to head off to college, a family tragedy keeps her from leaving her hometown, and she soon finds herself investigating a “ghostly murder.” And, of course, the inquisitive sleuth will learn a plethora of secrets along the way.

CBS TV Studios, the current owner of the rights to the books, has been trying to create a relevant show for the heroine for several years.

In 2016, Entertainment Weekly reported that the studio was creating a series, Drew, featuring a thirty-something Nancy working as a detective for the New York Police Department. Sarah Shahi (Reverie, Person of Interest) played the mystery-solver in the pilot, which also featured actors Anthony Edwards, Vanessa Ferlito, Felix Solis, and Steve Kazee. However, the series was never picked up.

"The Secret of the Old Clock," Nancy Drew Book Cover
  Penguin Radom House

Then, in 2017, Deadline reported that NBC was working on a different show featuring an adult Nancy Drew. In this version, she is the author of a teen book series based on a young, female detective who tries to solve a real-life murder mystery with her two BFFs.

Nancy Drew was created by book publisher Edward Stratemeyer, who also introduced readers to the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, and the Rover Boys in the early 1900s. He used a team of freelancers to write each book but created a unique pen name for each series so readers would think that a single person wrote the stories. The Nancy Drew books are all credited to the fake Carolyn Keene.

Female Cartoon Detective/Sleuth
  Anuska_k / Shutterstock

The popular character was first brought to television in 1977’s The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, which aired for three seasons on ABC and starred Pamela Sue Martin (Dynasty). In 1995, actress Tracy Ryan played the amateur sleuth and criminology student in the syndicated series Nancy Drew. That program was canceled halfway through its first season. A 2002 made-for-TV movie, also just titled Nancy Drew, featured Maggie Lawson (Lethal Weapon, Psych) as the mystery-lover, a college student studying journalism. This flick was created as a pilot for a possible TV series, but that never came to fruition.

Hopefully, the CW will have better luck bringing the beloved crime solver to small screens everywhere.