Madeleine Mantock, Charmed (CW); Sarayu Blue, I Feel Bad (NBC); Natalie Morales, Abby's Bar (NBC)


Naturally, we don’t yet have GEM® scores for any of the new network shows launching this season, so we can’t tell you which programming features the most realistic roles for women and girls. Still, #SeeHer members and their agencies see much to like, or that they hope to like, in terms of new female characters on TV this year.

In general, many marketers, media buyers, and the press love to handicap potential hits every fall, so first we asked #SeeHer members’ media investment teams “which new shows are you most excited about?”

CBS’s Murphy Brown, which returns Candice Bergen to her iconic newswoman role, and ABC’s A Million Little Things, the ensemble drama that deals with friendships and hardships like mental illness, were the two that got the most buzz. NBC’s high-concept drama Manifest, about the passengers on a plane that disappears from the sky and then mysteriously reappears five years later, was also noted by several team members.

We then asked, “Which programs have female characters presented in a respectful manner, are featured authentically, and could be considered role models?”

For this question, the #SeeHer media teams had quite a few candidates. Murphy Brown was a fairly obvious choice for strong female leads. One member noted that “A Million Little Things on ABC has some strong female leads that can be great role models for women going through a difficult time.”

But other shows show similar promise. The most cited were the mid-season entry The Fix on ABC, executive-produced by author and famous former L.A. prosecutor Marcia Clark and starring Robin Tunney as (you guessed it) a Los Angeles D.A. and I Feel Bad, executive-produced by Amy Poehler, about a career woman (Sarayu Blue) juggling marriage, parenting, and a career.

Another team member likes Fam on CBS, about “a woman who is about to live a perfect life with her new fiancé and his upstanding family, and that all falls apart when her younger, rebellious half-sister comes to live with her to escape their train wreck father.” And another says that “Single Parents on ABC I think is a great fit as well, showing strong single female parent leads.”

Other shows getting nods for positive female roles are the rebooted witchery of Charmed on CW; Proven Innocent from Fox, where a team led by a fierce and fearless female lawyer with a hunger for justice tackles wrongful convictions; and NBC’s Abby’s, about the best bar in San Diego, located in the titular character’s backyard.

Witches, lawyers, a backyard bar owner, and an iconic journalist. All in all, a diverse slate. We’ll weigh in later this season and let you know how all of these shows fared via GEM® scoring.