Nanny, The

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The Nanny is an American 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 Queens 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 as well as for Emmy. Since the early 2000s the sitcom has also spawned several foreign adaptations, loosely inspired by the original scripts.

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, Broadway 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) 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).

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 Lainie Kazan as Fran's paternal aunt Freida Fine, 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, 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, John Astin, Joe Lando, Shari Lewis, Richard Kline, Bette Midler, Joan Collins, Roseanne, Barbra Streisand, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme,Jane Seymour, Cloris Leachman, Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Jason Alexander, Lamb Chop (puppet) 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. Renée 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.


Created by

Fran Drescher

Peter Marc Jacobson

Developed by

Prudence Fraser

Robert Sternin


Fran Drescher

Charles Shaughnessy

Daniel Davis

Lauren Lane

Nicholle Tom

Benjamin Salisbury

Madeline Zima

Renée Taylor

Ann Guilbert

Rachel Chagall

Theme music composer Ann Hampton Callaway

(Pilot episode: Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields)

Opening theme "The Nanny Named Fran" by Ann Hampton Callaway

(Pilot episode: "If My Friends Could See Me Now" by Gwen Verdon)

Composer(s) Timothy Thompson

Ann Hampton Callaway

Country of origin United States United States

Language(s) English

Yiddish (dubbed)

No. of seasons 6

No. of episodes 146 (List of episodes)


Executive producer(s) Fran Drescher (entire run)

Robert Sternin

Prudence Fraser (seasons 1-4; consulting executive producers, seasons 5-6)

Peter Marc Jacobson (seasons 2-6)

Diane Wilk (seasons 5-6)

Frank Lombardi (season 6)

Caryn Lucas (season 6)

Location(s) New York City, New York (setting)

Culver Studios, Culver City, California (taping location)

Camera setup Videotape; Multi-Camera

Running time approx. 30 minutes

Production company(s) Sternin & Fraser Ink, Inc.

TriStar Television

Highschool Sweethearts (1996-1999)

Distributor TriStar Television (1994-1999)

Columbia TriStar Television (1999-2002; syndication)

Sony Pictures Television (2002-present, reruns only)


Original channel CBS

Picture format 480i 4:3 (SDTV)

720i 1.33 : 1 (HDTV)

Audio format Stereo (NTSC)

Original run November 3, 1993 – May 12, 1999

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Rita Moreno

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