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The Nanny is an Americanmarker television sitcom co-produced by Sternin & Fraser Ink, Inc. and Highschool Sweethearts Productions in association with TriStar Television for the CBS network. It first aired from November 3, 1993, to May 12, 1999, and starred Fran Drescher as Fran Fine, a charming and bubbly Jewish Queensmarker native who casually becomes the nanny of three children from the New York/British upper class.

Created and executive produced by Drescher and her then-husband Peter Marc Jacobson, The Nanny took much of its inspiration from Drescher's personal life, involving names and characteristics based on near relatives and friends. The show earned a Rose d'Or and one Emmy Award, out of a total of 13 nominations, and Drescher was twice nominated for a Golden Globe. Since the early 2000s the sitcom has also spawned several foreign adaptations, loosely inspired by the original scripts.

Plot

The Nanny is primarily based upon the story of nasal-voiced Fran Fine (played by Fran Drescher) who is from Flushing, Queens. Fran appears at the doorstep of a wealthy widowed Englishman, Broadwaymarker theatrical producer Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), while selling cosmetics. Fran has just been fired from her job as a bridal consultant by her ex-fiancé, Danny, and Maxwell mistakenly believes that she has been sent by a nanny agency and quickly hires her to be nanny to his three kids, Maggie (Nicholle Tom), Brighton (Benjamin Salisbury) and Grace (Madeline Zima). Fran, with her nontraditional nurturing style and no-nonsense honesty, soon becomes a favorite with the kids as well as Maxwell, as they come to respect her opinions and love her as a person. It is a situation of blue collar meets blue blood, as Fran gives the prim-and-proper Maxwell and his children a dose of "Queens logic", helping them to become a healthy, happy family.

Proudly running the Sheffield household is the butler, Niles (Daniel Davis), who watches all events with a bemused eye and levels problems with his quick wit. Niles quickly recognizes Fran's gift for bringing warmth into the family and becomes fast friends with her. He does his best to undermine Maxwell's socialite business partner, C. C. Babcock (Lauren Lane), in their ongoing game of one-upmanship. C. C. views Fran with a mixture of skepticism and jealousy, as they both have designs on the very available Mr. Sheffield.

Perpetually hovering close by are Fran's stereotypically obsessive and food-loving "Jewish mother" Sylvia (Renée Taylor); her rarely-seen but often-mentioned father Morty; her cigarette-addicted senile grandmother Yetta (Ann Guilbert), dispensing nonsensical advice and often erroneously believing Mr.Sheffield to already be Fran's husband and his children to be hers as well (a belief she does not keep to herself);, Fran's dim-witted best friend Val (Rachel Chagall) and Fran's paternal aunt Freida (Lainie Kazan) keeping her company on the perpetual quest for a husband and constantly reminding Fran how things can always get worse (as Val has much less luck than Fran).

Cast

Main cast

For a full list of characters with articles, see the individual character articles.


The Nanny maintained an ensemble cast, keeping the same set of characters for its entire six-season run. Numerous secondary characters and love interests for these characters appeared intermittently to complement storylines that generally revolved around this core group.

Character Actor
Fran Fine Fran Drescher
Maxwell Sheffield Charles Shaughnessy
Niles Daniel Davis
C.C. Babcock Lauren Lane
Maggie Sheffield Nicholle Tom
Brighton Sheffield Benjamin Salisbury
Grace Sheffield Madeline Zima


Recurring cast

Sylvia Fine Renee Taylor
Yetta Rosenberg Ann Morgan Guilbert
Val Toriello Rachel Chagall


Guest stars

Although largely operating around that main ensemble cast, The Nanny featured an enormous number of guest stars over the years. Notable repeat guests included Steve Lawrence as Fran's never before seen father Morty Fine, Pamela Anderson as Fran's nemesis Heather Biblow, Ray Charles as Yetta's fiancé Sammy, Lainie Kazan as Fran's paternal aunt Freida Fine, Spalding Gray as Dr. Jack Miller, and Fred Stoller as Fred The Pharmacist. Most celebrities guest-starred in single episodes as themselves, primarily appearing in connection with Maxwell's business relations, such as actors and actresses Chevy Chase, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lesley-Anne Down, Erik Estrada, Dan Aykroyd, Joe Lando, Shari Lewis, Richard Kline, Bette Midler, Roseanne, Barbra Streisand, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme,Jane Seymour, Cloris Leachman, Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Jason Alexander, Lamb Chop and Shari Lewis, Lynn Redgrave,Hugh Grant,Margaret Cho, Eric Braeden and Hunter Tylo; media personalities Roger Clinton, Jr., Jay Leno, David Letterman, and Donald Trump; and musicians such as Lisa Loeb, Brian Setzer, Celine Dion, appeared in a 1994 episode. Rapper Coolio, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Lawrence and Rosie O'Donnell, however, guest starred as both characters and themselves in different episodes. Two-time "Survivor" Jonathan Penner appeared as Fran's former fiance, Danny Imperialli. James Marsden appeared as Maggie's boyfriend, Eddie, and Telma Hopkins appeared as Fran's "mother" in the episode Fran's Roots. Scott Baio also made an appearance as a rookie doctor who was a former schoolmate of Fran's (Fran was his first patient...ever).

While starring, Fran Drescher also reprised her role of Bobbi Fleckman from the 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap and made a cameo appearance as herself in the third last episode; Charles Shaughnessy followed with a double role as a foreign sultan in a special episode. Drescher's real-life parents, Morty and Sylvia Drescher made appearances as Fran's Uncle Stanley and Aunt Rose; her Pomeranian Chester appeared as C.C.'s pet in more than a dozen episodes. Renee Taylor's husband, Joe Bologna, and their son Gabriel also had minor roles as doctors on the show. Ray Romano made a crossover as Ray Barone, Fran's former fellow student, linking The Nanny with his comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. Tom Bergeron starred as himself in an episode where Maxwell was a star on Hollywood Squares, as a replacement for Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Episode overview

Season Episodes First Air Date Last Air Date Notes
1 22 November 3, 1993 May 16, 1994
2 26 September 12, 1994 May 22, 1995
3 27 September 11, 1995 May 20, 1996 "Oy to the World" Animated Episode
4 26 September 18, 1996 May 21, 1997
5 23 October 1, 1997 May 13, 1998
6 22 September 30, 1998 May 12, 1999


The Nanny: Reunion Special

Name Air Date
The Nanny Reunion: A Nosh to Remember December 6, 2004


Theme song and opening credits

Theme song

The show's original theme was the song "If My Friends Could See Me Now", performed by Gwen Verdon from the 1966 Broadway musical Sweet Charity , but this theme was scrapped after the pilot episode, and it was only heard in the pilot episode in the original CBS run (all syndicated airings of the episode removed the theme as well as any mention of it in the closing credits).

The second theme song, "The Nanny Named Fran", which was written and performed by Ann Hampton Callaway, would be the theme song for the remainder of the series. Two instrumental versions of the theme song were used in the closing credits, one that is a direct instrumental version of the theme (used only in a few season one episodes), and another that sounds slightly different from the theme song (although the end of the closing theme features an instrumental portion taken almost directly from the theme song).

Opening credits

The opening sequence for the pilot featured Fran in front of a white background, getting herself made up going to work as the nanny; at the end of the sequence, it shows Fran heading toward a stroller (this is ironic as all of the Sheffield children were older than five-years-old) and a lipstick print appears to the above right.

With the change of the theme song from "If My Friends Could See Me Now" to "The Nanny Named Fran" also came the change of the opening sequence, which like the theme, describes the story of how Fran Fine went from being fired from the bridal shop by Danny Imperiali to becoming the nanny of the Sheffield children. The opening sequence remained the same despite Renee Taylor, Ann Guilbert and Rachel Chagall being now credited as "starring" in the in-show credits. The only change to the sequence was in season six when producer Kathy Landsberg was promoted to co-executive producer of the series as her producer credit was moved to the in-show credits, and the names of show creators Drescher and Jacobson, and developers Sternin and Fraser were added in its place.

Production

Development

It was not until 1991 - the same year Drescher decided to visit friend Twiggy Lawson and her family in London, England that the pair came up with early drafts for The Nanny. Inspired by a culture-clashy shopping tour with Lawson's teenage daughter which saw Drescher actually functioning in a less parental but "humorous [...] kind of Queens logic, self-serving advice" mode, she convinced her husband starting work of what she called "doing a spin on [the 1965 film] The Sound of Music." However, it was not until a transatlantic flight to Paris that Drescher persuaded fellow passenger Jeff Sagansky, at the time president of CBS Corporation, for whom she had starred in the short-lived TV series Princesses, to meet with her and Jacobson when Drescher returned to Los Angeles, Californiamarker.

Back in Los Angeles, the pair pitched their idea to Tim Flack and Joe Voci, both in comedy development at CBS. Sagansky brought in experienced producers Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, another husband-and-wife team with whom Drescher had worked before during guesting on Who's the Boss? in 1985 and 1986. Interested, both couples teamed up to write the script for the pilot together, creating a character with the intention to build off Drescher's image. "Our business strategy was to create a show that was going to complement our writing, complement me as a talent," Drescher said in a 1997 interview with the Hollywood Reporter. As a result, the characters draw deeply on the Drescher family, including Fran Fine's parents, Sylvia and Morty, and grandmother Yetta, who all were named after their real-life counterparts.

Crew

Most of all early The Nanny episodes were shot in front of a live studio audience on Stage 6 at the Culver Studios (during later seasons the taping was no longer performed before an audience due to the complexities of the fantasy sequences, costume changes etc.), generally on Friday nights. Scripts for a new episode were issued the Monday before for a read-through; Wednesday was rehearsal and network run-through day, and final scripts were issued on Thursday.

Nearly 100 crew members were involved in the shooting of a single episode. Although Drescher, Fraser, Jacobson and Sternin, the show's only executive producers for the first four seasons, coordinated "pretty much everything" at the beginning, according to Sternin, they eventually found their niche and in the following years, Drescher and Sternin decided to focus on writing story outlines, while Jacobson presided over the writing team, and Fraser observed the run-throughs. The four of them were later joined by Frank Lombardi, Caryn Lucas and Diane Wilk.

Humor

The comedy in The Nanny was formulated with many running gags, which contributed heavily to the success of the series. Much of this formula was character-based, with all major characters possessing a specific trait or quirks that provided a source of parody for other characters. The conflicting elements of each character's own comedy were often played off against one another (Fran and Maxwell, Niles and C.C., Maggie and Brighton). Occasionally the characters would break the fourth wall and comment on the situations themselves, or Fran would comment to the audience or look into the camera. Another running gag is the many references to Beatles songs.

Other running gags include Fran constantly referring to eccentric family members (some never shown, most of them dying); Fran lying about her age—especially to men; Maxwell fighting through his rivalry with actual Broadway producer Andrew Lloyd Webber; Sylvia loving food in excess; Niles delivering sharp one-liners, often aimed at C.C.; C.C. cold-heartedly reacting to situations that are usually sentimental to others; Gracie psychologically analyzing various situations; Niles always getting fired because he always embarrasses Maxwell or gives Fran ideas that Maxwell extremely dislikes (like the time when Niles suggested that Max, C.C. and Fran go to the Streisand house); Fran and Val lacking intelligence and obsessing over material possessions (i.e. clothes); Yetta making disconnected comments revealing her senility; Fran criticizing Maxwell's and Niles' reserved and inhibited British nature; Brighton morphing into a hopeless dork; Maxwell passing up the incredibly popular musical, Cats, then becoming upset when such an idiotic idea became a success; Niles' last name never being revealed; C.C. covering her long-unrevealed name (finally given as Chastity Claire in the series finale); C.C. failing to remember the names of the Sheffield children; Sylvia constantly nagging Fran to get married; Niles offering obvious hints to Maxwell and Fran about them realizing they should be together; C.C. pining over her unrequited romantic interest in Maxwell; and Fran obsessing with Barbra Streisand. There was also the occasional tryst between Niles and C.C., contrasting with their typical open disdain for each other, which was actually love.

In addition, there is also a great deal of physical comedy in The Nanny including exaggerated falls and chases. Drescher's facial expressions, when shocked or surprised, can also be seen as reminiscent of Lucille Ball's portrayals of Lucy Ricardo and Lucy Carmichael. The parallels were suggested in one episode, where an exasperated Mr. Sheffield refers to Fran as "Mrs Carmichael," and again in another (in which the family travels to Hollywood) when he alludes to Fran and "Ethel" stealing John Wayne's footprints. The episode that featured a visit from Elizabeth Taylor began with Maxwell and Niles trying to hide the visit from Fran ("Boys, boys, boys. Now do you think my mother gave birth to a dummy 25 years ago?") followed by her gripe "You never introduce me to any of the stars that you know; I've got a good mind to take Little Ricky and... oh. Never mind." Viewers for Quality Television calls The Nanny "the 90s version of I Love Lucy. It was well written and entertaining".

Reaction

The show languished its first year. When it was nearly canceled, Sagansky stepped in as its champion. According to Jacobson: "At all those affiliate meetings, he used to say, 'Stick by The Nanny!' He knew it was something special." The sitcom was the first new show delivered to CBS for the 1993 season and the highest-tested pilot at the network in years. The series was also hugely successful internationally, especially in Australia, where it was one of the highest rated programs during the mid-late 1990s.

Although soon emerging as a favorite among the company, sponsors questioned whether the writers had ventured too far in terms of ethnicity and Drescher acted too obviously Jewish. The actress, however, declined to change Fran Fine into an Italian American: "On TV, you have to work fast, and the most real, the most rooted in reality to me is Jewish. I wanted to do it closest to what I knew." By contrast, the producers came to the conclusion that to oppose her should be a family of British origin, so "she wouldn't come across as Jewish so much as the American you were rooting for," Sternin explained. "The idea was to make her the American girl who happens to be Jewish rather than the Jewish girl working for the WASP."

Syndication

The show began off-network syndication in September 1997, distributed by Columbia TriStar Television (now Sony Pictures Television) on various broadcast television networks in the U.S. The show had aired on Lifetime Television from 2000 until 2008. The show can be seen currently on Nick@Nite in the United States, and Go! in Australia. The Nanny will discontinue airing on Nick@Nite in April 2010, after which it will move to Nick@Nite's sister network, TV Land.

Awards

Year Category For... Result
Emmy Awards
1995 Outstanding Costume Design - Series Brenda Cooper for "Canasta Masta"
1995 Outstanding Directing - Comedy Series Lee Shallat Chemel for "Canasta Masta"
1995 Outstanding Hairstyling - Series For "Stock Tip"
1996 Outstanding Actress - Comedy Series Fran Drescher for playing "Fran Fine"
1996 Outstanding Costume Design - Series Brenda Cooper for "The Kibbutz"
1996 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series Renée Taylor for playing "Sylvia Fine"
1997 Outstanding Actress - Comedy Series Fran Drescher
1997 Outstanding Costume Design - Series Brenda Cooper for "The Facts of Lice"
1997 Outstanding Costume Design - Series Brenda Cooper for "The Rosie Show"
1998 Outstanding Costume Design - Series Brenda Cooper for "Not Without My Nanny"
1998 Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) - Comedy Series For "The Wedding"
1999 Outstanding Costume Design - Series Brenda Cooper for "Oh Say, Can You Ski?"
Golden Globe Awards
1995 Best Actress - Musical or Comedy Series Fran Drescher for playing "Fran Fine"
1996 Best Actress - Musical or Comedy Series Fran Drescher
Image Awards
1998 Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series Whoopi Goldberg for playing "Edna" in "The Pre-Nup"
Satellite Awards
1996 Best Actress - Musical or Comedy Series Fran Drescher for playing "Fran Fine"


DVD releases

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has released seasons 1, 2 & 3 of The Nanny on DVD in regions 1, 2 & 4. Season 3 was released on March 17, 2009 in Region 1, almost 3 years after the release of season 2. [38659]

DVD Name
Ep #
Release dates
Special Features
Region 1
Region 2
Region 4
The Complete 1st Season 22 July 12, 2005 August 9, 2005 July 13, 2005
  • Commentary with Fran Drescher
  • The Making of The Nanny
The Complete 2nd Season 26 May 2, 2006 June 8, 2006 May 10, 2006
  • None
The Complete 3rd Season 27 March 17, 2009 March 5, 2009 March 11, 2009
  • None
The Complete 4th Season 26 TBA TBA TBA
The Complete 5th Season 23 TBA TBA TBA
The Complete 6th Season 22 TBA TBA TBA
It is not known when the remaining 3 seasons will be released.

Foreign adaptations

Countries with local versions


The Nanny was shown in more than eighty countries worldwide. In addition, several local versions of the show have been produced in other countries. These shows follow the original scripts very closely, but with minor alterations in order to adapt to their respective country's culture. The remake in Russia was so popular that some original American writers were commissioned to write new scripts after all original episodes were remade.

See also



References

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrk1Tps8w0Q Original Nanny Intro from the Pilot episode
  2. The Nanny - Official Site - About the Show


External links




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