Fran Drescher knows how to make you laugh. She did it for six seasons as fish-out-of-water Fran Fine on The Nanny, and now she’s back on TV ready to do it again.
On NBC’s Indebted she plays Debbie, a retired mother and grandmother who, along with her husband (Steven Weber), moves in with her daughter and son-in-law to save money. “I like representing my age group in a relationship that’s sexy, madly in love and very tactile,” Drescher, 62, told Us Weekly exclusively while reclining on a chaise beneath the Pasadena sun. “I feel like we’re breaking walls.”
Drescher has been acting steadily for the past 40 years — her first credited role was in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever — and on her signature project, The Nanny, she was a creator, writer, producer and occasional director. Indebted is different.
“It kind of just fell into my lap, and it’s been an adjustment because I’m not a producer. That’s a little hard for me,” she said, before commending the crew for staying open to her ideas. “I’m not getting the title or the paycheck, but I’m being heard. That’s what matters.”
Another thing that matters? Her parents will be able to watch her new show! “My last series [Happily Divorced] was on TV Land, and none of my friends could find it,” she joked. “In my dad’s local paper, they list, like, 60 networks, but not TV Land. Everybody can find NBC!”
When Drescher was offered the part, she was already busy working on another project: a musical on-stage adaptation of The Nanny. She penned the book with ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson — they cowrote the original show — and Rachel Bloom is handling the music and lyrics.
“They have several songs already. It’s a very collaborative art form, and it’s something that already exists and is beloved, so it’s important we’re all true to that,” Drescher says. She adds that Bloom, who created and starred in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, is the perfect addition.
“One of our huge concerns was that we wouldn’t find a lyricist funny enough to capture the comedy of the series,” she told Us. “The Nanny was always kind of a musical without the music. It’s going to be a very elegant transition … contemporized attitudinally and stuff.”
Though Drescher is no stranger to the stage — she was most recently on Broadway in 2014’s Cinderella — she has no plans to step back into Fran’s very high heels: “I can’t really sing,” she said with the classic Drescher laugh. “There’s always the option of me playing [Fran’s mom] Sylvia, but it’s not on my agenda right now.”
For more from Drescher, pick up Us Weekly on newsstands now.
Indebted premieres on NBC Thursday, February 6, at 9:30 p.m.