Fran Drescher, In Development

Fran Drescher did not look out of place on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at Cipriani on 42nd Street in her black feathered Max Azaria dress and Jimmy Choo shoes, among the oversized balloons, jugglers, painted mimes toting parasols, professional bubble-blowers and very popular bartenders. She was there as the hostess of a fund-raiser for H.E.L.P., an organization that benefits disadvantaged children.

How are the kids–disadvantaged or otherwise!–growing up these days, Fran?

“Frankly, I think there’s a much more diverse representation of young people on television today than there was when I was growing up," she said. "I mean, watching Leave It To Beaver reruns did not exactly give me a picture—or even the Brady Bunch!—of what regular American families were like. And certainly there weren’t any Jews represented on television!”

But there are plenty of vapid, wealthy teens in private schools (à la MTV’s The Hills and CW’s Gossip Girl).

“Television," she said, affecting bewilderment. "They don’t know what to do to keep the audiences. So many different cable channels now … that the share networks [are] getting is smaller and smaller, and they don’t know what to try next.”

“I went to public schools all my life, and I never felt like I was not getting all that I needed. They had instruments; they had computers [Editor's note: they must have been pretty big in the 70's!]; they had art classes; after-school activities. And it really made a significant difference in my development. Now it’s not that way,” she added.

The founder of Cancer Schmancer, the very Drescherly women’s cancer charity she founded last June, said she has lately been writing a screenplay and is also “in development for a couple of things.”

Speaking of development! Recently the State Department made her a special envoy to developing countries, to advise local women on health and domestic issues.