Too Female for Hollywood

Too Female for Hollywood

Unless you have your head buried in the sand, I’m sure you’ve heard that there is a lack of roles for female actors in television and movies, with the latter being far worse. In fact, it has come out in recent months that lead actresses struggle to get paid as much as their male counterparts, even when they are the main star. 


It makes you think that Hollywood doesn’t value women: the audiences or the actors. Why aren’t their more female-led projects? You might excuse the Hollywood establishment by saying that female-led television shows and movies don’t do well. Wrong. As long as there is good talent and writing, female-led programming and movies do well. A few examples on television that come to mind are Xena: Warrior Princess, Orange Is The New Black, Sex and The City (television show and movie), Girls, Scandal, Supergirl, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and How to Get Away With Murder. And there are more than that out there. And movies: The Hunger Games franchise, Frozen, Bridesmaids, Mamma Mia!, Pitch Perfect, Underworld, Charlie’s Angels, Sister Act, and Kill Bill.

Despite the success, it seems that entertainment executives think having a female-led show or movie is a bad thing. The latest example of this short-sighted thinking comes from the executives at CBS. They, in their infinite wisdom, passed on a new Nancy Drew-inspired pilot because it skewed “too female” by test audiences. According to Deadline, the pilot tested well, but that wasn’t enough for CBS, because, again, it skewed “too female” for their schedule.

What is wrong with a show being “too female”? (And, honestly, what does “too female” mean?) Aren’t there enough shows out there that are “too male” on CBS? NCIS, and every variation of that show comes to mind, as well as Blue Bloods and Criminal Minds. (And, I’m sorry, having one or two “token” women does not mean a show isn’t male-centered.) Do CBS executives think that people won’t watch a show that has more than one woman as a lead character? 

I struggle with understanding this sort of insane rationale. I mean, after all, they don’t have that much female-led programming anymore on CBS. Recently, they got rid of Supergirl, CSI: Cyber, and The Good Wife. Not only that, but they have picked up two new shows that are male-centered (a Training Day-inspired show and a MacGyver reboot). At least they are keeping the last three remaining female-led series they have, 2 Broke Girls, Mom, and Madam Secretary.

I’m disappointed in this decision by CBS and hope that the Nancy Drew-inspired show finds a home. I love the idea of a modern, grown-up Nancy Drew working as an NYPD police detective. But it will only be seen if someone picks it up. Maybe Netflix? After all, they are not afraid of adding original female-centered programming. (Thank goodness someone isn’t.)

If you want to know how others feel about CBS calling the nixed pilot “too female,” you just need to spend some time on Twitter. Or, read through a few of my favorites.


Too Female for Hollywood



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