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‘The Carrie Diaries’ on CW follows the teen before ‘Sex and the City’

This undated image released by The CW shows AnnaSophiRobb as Carrie Bradshaw 'The Carrie Diaries.'  The new hour-long drampremieres

This undated image released by The CW shows AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie Bradshaw in "The Carrie Diaries." The new hour-long drama premieres Monday at 8 p.m. EST on the CW. (AP Photo/The CW)

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Updated: February 15, 2013 6:11AM

Fans of the original “Sex and the City” now might have daughters old enough to stream the iconic Sarah Jessica Parker series that aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004.

Parker embodied Manhattanite Carrie Bradshaw’s intelligence, optimism and sophistication, and spoke to generations of modern women wanting, like Bradshaw, to have it all.

Now those older “City” fans and their daughters have a new Bradshaw to share, on “The Carrie Diaries,” premiering at 7 p.m. Monday on WGN-Channel 9.

Based on a 2010 young adult novel by Candace Bushnell, who also wrote the book that inspired the original series, the CW series dishes up Bradshaw’s story before she became a writer living in the Big Apple.

And it shines a bright spotlight on 19-year-old AnnaSophia Robb, the actress who redefines Carrie as a 16-year-old suburban Connecticut high school junior, mourning the death of her mother and struggling to be a mom to her younger sister.

Robb, who has been primarily a movie actress (“Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”), doesn’t look exactly like Parker. But, says executive producer Amy Harris, who also worked on “Sex and the City,” she fills the bill.

“I wanted somebody who embodies Carrie Bradshaw, and if she had brown hair and brown eyes I would have lived with that,” says Harris. “Sarah Jessica was perfection. I don’t want anybody to ever think there’s someone filling those shoes. Those are unfillable. But these are literally and figuratively smaller shoes to fill.”

Robb, petite and blond, says taking on the role was “intimidating,” but she found comfort in support from Parker.

“She sent me a really encouraging, very sweet letter that made me feel really good,” Robb says. “She was congratulating me and telling me how much the role of Carrie Bradshaw meant to her and how it changed her life, that she was so excited for me and knew it was in good hands. It was a huge compliment.”

It also helps, says Robb, that the new show “is not trying to be like ‘Sex and the City.’ We have similar flavors and similar characters, but this is very different. It’s a different era [the show is set in 1984], and it’s for a younger audience, but hopefully fans of ‘Sex and the City’ will love it too.”

Harris stresses she didn’t want to present a “Baby Muppet” view of “Sex and the City,” so there will be no “mini-me” version of Carrie’s “City” friends Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha or Stanford. “This show is about how earlier friendships and relationships are very different from the ones you have as an adult and yet kind of shape [who] you’ll be,” Harris says.

Gannett News Service

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