25 years ago, The Nanny debuted on CBS. The Nanny followed one Fran Fine,
a woman who worked in a Queens bridal shop until the owner, who was also her boyfriend, both fired and broke up with her on the same day. In order to make ends meet, she becomes a door to door make up saleslady. One day, she ends up in the Upper East Side to peddle her wares and comes upon the residence of Maxwell Sheffield,
a Broadway producer in need of a nanny to help raise his three kids. Fran is hired that day. Congrats, Fran!
Also part of the Sheffield household are the family’s butler, Niles, and CC Babcock, Max’s business partner. The catty banter between Niles and CC is one of the best things about the series. Anyway, on Fran’s side, there’s her mother Sylvia (who is up for food), her grandmother Yetta (also a scene stealer), and her ditzy friend Val.
The show ran from November of 1993 to June of 1999. Initially, the show did poorly in it’s first season and was close to cancellation, but CBS president Jeff Sagansky had faith in the show and convinced others to stick with it. While not as monumental a hit as other 90s sitcoms such as Friends and Fraiser, it did have a faithful following, especially in the gay community as the show lived off the camp aesthetic. It did well overseas, as well, with the show being syndicated in over thirty countries, with a few of those countries making remakes. Also, it was one of the few shows in TV history to have a Jewish leading character. Even with pressure being put on her to change Fran into an Italian American, Fran Drescher would not budge. Good for her.
The show continues to be rerun on retro TV channels like Logo and Cozi TV.
So, here’s to The Nanny, the little show that could. May it continue to be in reruns and may the antics of Fran and the Sheffields live on.
And, personally, here’s what I consider to be the number one best moment in the series’ history: