Why The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev Returned To TV For CBS' Fam

FAM Nina Dobrev Clem CBS

(Image credit: CBS)

Nina Dobrev is returning to television with the new CBS sitcom Fam. It marks Dobrev's first series regular role following her exit from The Vampire Diaries in 2015, and the actress has revealed what drew her back to television in full after all this time away.

Well, I was not looking to do TV. It wasn't on my radar, to be honest with you. But when the opportunity came up, I read the script, I loved the story, loved the character, had never done a sitcom before, was a huge fan of Friends. I loved watching Friends in the '90s and growing up, but had never really watched it with a critical eye and thought about how that show was done. I didn't realize it was in front of a live audience, and then when I heard that, it scared me, which then obviously propelled me to say yes, because I love doing things that make me uncomfortable, and in turn, hopefully drive me to learn and grow and challenge me. So it felt like it was a perfect storm.

It sounds as though the challenges that come with doing a sitcom were too alluring for Nina Dobrev to turn down. The Vampire Diaries actress revealed her motivation to TV Guide, pinpointing Friends as playing a significant role in influencing her decision. Could there be a better influence?

With six seasons on the high-concept drama that was The Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrev got accustomed to playing her share of serious moments as Elena Gilbert, even returning for the finale. So it is not entirely surprising that Dobrev has drifted towards more light-hearted fare for her return to TV.

When asked if there is anything particular that draws her to comedies over dramas, or whether they are two sides of the same coin, Nina Dobrev responded:

I think they go hand in hand, and yet they are so different. I like doing both. I like a balance of anything. I mean, succeeding in life is finding that balance, in any area of life. But in this one in particular, whenever I do a comedy, I want to do a drama to counteract it, and vice versa. But if I had to choose, I feel like I would gravitate towards comedies, because who doesn't like to laugh, you know? I did six years on a show that was very serious, for the most part. Not all the time, but was more serious than not, and it's been a nice change to laugh all day, every day, and keep working on deepening these laugh lines.

Playing The Vampire Diaries' Elena Gilbert left little room for the actress to develop laugh lines. Arguably, the only time Nina Dobrev got a chance to play at least a bit of comedy was when she played Catherine's darkly humorous side. Otherwise, The Vampire Diaries was no laughing matter.

Nina Dobrev left the supernatural series at the end of Season 6. The show ended the following season with its seventh installment, for which she returned to tie up Elena's story. She did get to flex her comedic chops for a single episode of Workaholics in 2017, which had some fans hoping for more.

Since leaving full-time TV, Nina Dobrev has starred in several movies, including the Flatliners remake. That was quite a serious movie, so doing a sitcom likely provided a significant change of pace. Dobrev is in good hands with Fam, which will air on a network familiar with generating hit sitcoms.

Fam will air on CBS, the home to such smash hits as The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon. CBS was also home to the retired long-running hit How I Met Your Mother. Given the network's track record with sitcoms, there is reason to believe Nina Dobrev's midseason series can easily follow in their footsteps.

Fans anticipating Nina Dobrev's return to television may still be wondering about the television universe that she used to inhabit. The Vampire Diaries' world is still going strong with its most recent spinoff, Legacies, premiering last year. Nina Dobrev was recently asked whether she would be able to reprise her role as Elena on the spinoff. To which, she indicated her commitment to Fam would keep her from appearing on Legacies, in the immediate future.

You can catch Nina Dobrev in Fam, when the sitcom premieres Thursday, January 10 at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The new show is among many bowing on CBS during the midseason.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.