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How ‘Sex and the City’ Inspired Darren Star’s ‘Younger’

“Sex and the City” and TV Land’s “Younger” premiered nearly 20 years apart from one another, but both shows share common ground, revolving around groups of women living in New York City.

“People and friendships really matter to the audience. It’s something they’d like to see,” says Darren Star, the creator of both “Younger” and “Sex and the City.”

While Star has stuck to writing female-forward roles and themes over the years, he says both shows carry their own unique identity, mainly revolving around the workplace setting of “Younger,” which returns Tuesday night with its fifth season, and was just renewed for a sixth season by TV Land.

“‘Younger’ ultimately is a show that’s an intergenerational love story between two generations of women who learn from each other and support each other and work together,” Star tells Variety. “The shows are completely different animals, but one big difference is that in ‘Sex and the City,’ I never wanted to focus on the work lives of the women. We knew that they worked — Carrie certainly was exploring a question for her column every episode — but a lot of the show was set outside of work. ‘Younger’ is more workplace centric, and the idea of work and the importance of work to one’s self-esteem and purpose is a big part of ‘Younger.'”

In “Younger,” the central character Liza (Sutton Foster) is a 40-something who lies about her age and pretends to be a 20-something just so that she can achieve her dream of working in publishing. She works alongside a much younger Kelsey (Hilary Duff), but despite their age, the two women have a strong bond and support for one another.

While “Sex and the City” — which celebrates its 20th anniversary this week — was considered to be ahead of its time, showcasing four women before female-central TV characters were the norm, Star says female-centric programming is always embraced when you have the right idea.

“I think that a show with a female lead can appeal to everybody — it doesn’t just mean that it has to appeal to a female audience,” he says. “It can appeal to everyone.”

In a nod to 2018’s cultural shift regarding female empowerment, “Younger” will incorporate a Me Too story.

“It’s definitely very reflective of what’s going on in society right now with the whole Me Too movement, which becomes a very big part of our storytelling, but very organically,” Star says.

“The show gets a lot more real this season,” Star teases. “I think the relationships get a lot more real…I think all the characters are just deeper this season. We get to see more of the other characters on the show. Liza is still front and center, but we really do have an amazing cast, and we get to showcase them all this season.”

While “Younger” is a completely different show than “Sex and the City,” Star still has some fun dreaming up a crossover scenario. When prompted by Variety to guess what would happen if Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) met Liza (Foster), Star laughs and says the two fictional characters would be fast friends.

“I totally think they would be friends and they would totally get each other,” Star says, in jest. “I think Liza would be very impressed by Carrie and everything about her, especially if she came in to write a book for Empirical, it would be a fast friendship. I think Carrie would get a big kick out of what Liza is doing to keep working.”

So, should fans hold out for a “Sex and the City” and “Younger” crossover? Probably not, but Star could imagine a potential scenario with Liza and Carrie.

“Yes, I love it. Absolutely!” he jokes. “From your lips. That would be amazing!”

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