Network TV showing a stronger feminine side

U.S. network television will present a stronger feminine side next season, with a parade of new prime time heroines, including a bionic woman, a cyborg-fighting mom and a group of high-heeled sleuths.

Nearly a dozen new shows featuring women protagonists, some in crime-fighting, butt-kicking roles, are part of broadcasters’ recently unveiled 2007-2008 TV schedules.

The list includes sci-fi dramas, sitcoms, a spinoff of the hit hospital soap “Grey’s Anatomy” and a pair of shows billed as descendants of the landmark former HBO “dramedy” about four urban singletons, “Sex and the City.”

Female-led shows are hardly new to TV — just ask Lucille Ball, Marlo Thomas, Mary Tyler Moore or Angie Dickinson. But the latest offerings represent an unusually large number of prime time series for and about women.

They follow a memorable year for women in the media, from Katie Couric, who moved from morning TV to anchoring the CBS Evening News, to the on-camera acrimony that swept ABC’s talk show “The View.”

Since women account for a majority of America’s TV audience, it is no surprise that networks want to appeal to them.


TV producers, writers and network programmers are driven largely by their desire to repeat a winning formula, so experts say the latest trend was undoubtedly influenced by the success of recent hits like ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Ugly Betty,” which drew a broad audience while catering to women.

Some female-centered shows have proven more popular with both genders, particularly action dramas.

“There’s something very enticing to men about a girl who can kick butt, as long as it’s not theirs,” said Shari Anne Brill, director of programming for media buying agency Carat USA. “Women are much more into watching shows about friendship and relationships than men are.”

This fall, the networks are introducing both types of shows.

NBC plans to launch “Bionic Woman,” a remake of the 1970s series that starred Lindsay Wagner as a wonder of super-human engineering, and “Lipstick Jungle,” based on the bestseller by “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell, about three high-powered women, one of them played by Brooke Shields.

Fox is going the sci-fi action route, too, with “The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” a “Terminator” films spinoff. It follows the title character as she fights to save herself and her son from an onslaught of robotic enemies from the future.

Two other Fox entries include the courtroom drama “Canterbury’s Law,” starring “ER” veteran Julianna Margulies as a rebellious defense attorney, and the sitcom “The Return of Jezebel James,” about the uneasy relationship of two sisters.

But the heaviest concentration of new female stars is on ABC, where “Grey’s Anatomy” is begetting the new medical drama “Private Practice,” with Kate Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery.

New ABC offerings also include “Women’s Murder Club,” about a group of San Francisco women investigating homicides, and Cashmere Mafia,” another female ensemble drama from “Sex and the City” creator-producer Darren Star.

Even the upcoming ABC drama “Big Shots,” about of four male business executives, has been described as a wish-fulfillment show for women, depicting men the way women would like to them to be — sensitive and in touch with their feelings.

“It’s very much a chicks’ show,” Brill said. “It’s re-imagining men as maybe being human too.”

Source: Yahoo! TV

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  • campgrrls

    I’m not so interested in the conventional female-targetted shows like medical dramas, sitcoms, Ugly Betty, senstive men etc.That’s traditional soap territory and does nothing to challenge conventional gender divisions.

    I look forward to the female character led crime, action and sci fi shows. The small screen has not had a lot of these and after a bit of a break thru in the 1990s, so far the 21st century has seen a move away from shows where women lead characters break into male-dominated genres.

    PS. Where is this article from? TVnewser you don’t give a URL or link.

  • tvnewser

    Sorry, there you go 🙂

  • campgrrls

    Cool thanks. As I posted on my blog a couple of weeks back, I’m glad to see women making this strong comeback on TV, and it’s a topic close to my heart.

  • tvnewser

    It was the opposite on tonights episode of Desperate Housewives – the show was focused on the male characters and was narrated by Rex Van de Kamp instead of Mary Alice Young.

  • Rachel

    Cashmere Mafia looks set to replace Desperate Housewives’ timeslot on TV2 from the end of this month. Only 7 episodes were made thanks to the writer’s strike and it hasn’t been renewed for a second season.