Bewitched: New Nose-Twitching Magic Heading to UK Television

BewitchedDecades after the original Bewitched series went off the air in the U.S., it looks a new version will be made for the U.K. Interestingly enough, this won’t be the first time the series has been remade.

Bewitched debuted back on September 17, 1964 on ABC. The sitcom told the fantasy story of attractive young witch Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) who marries mortal advertising executive Darren Stephens (Dick York, later Dick Sargent). Rather than taking advantage of his wife’s supernatural powers, Darren longs for a “normal” life. This becomes quite difficult thanks to interference from mother-in-law Endora (Agnes Moorehead) and the later arrival of children Tabitha (Erin Murphy) and Adam (Greg and David Lawrence). The sitcom ran for 254 episodes and eight seasons, ending on July 1, 1972.

The series has long held a warm spot in the hearts of viewers and has inspired several spin-offs over the years. In December 1972, an odd animated movie about the Stephens children as teenagers aired on ABC called Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family. A pilot for a series about grown-up “Tabatha” aired in 1976 and was sold as a series but ABC insisted on cast and storyline changes. Another pilot was filmed (this time called Tabitha) and became a 12 episode series in 1977. It starred Lisa Hartman as the Stephens daughter who was trying to live a normal life while working at a Los Angeles TV station alongside her brother. Neither Stephens parents appeared on the spin-off but their old neighbors Gladys and Abner Kravitz (Sandra Gould and George Tobias) and Dr. Bombay (Bernard Fox) popped in for single episodes. Dr. Bombay later made a cameo on the Passions soap opera where many Bewitched-inspired characters have also appeared.

In 2005, a Bewitched movie was released and starred Nicole Kidman as a real witch who was starring in a remake of the series. Though the film was a box office disappointment, the BBC apparently thinks remaking the series is a good idea. A deal has been made with Sony Pictures Television International (who owns the rights to the original show) to remake the classic sitcom for UK audiences. Paul Mendelson has written a pilot script that’s been given the greenlight and he’s currently in discussions about making a full series. Mendelson is no stranger to fantasy sitcoms as he previously created the UK’s popular My Hero series about a superhero from the planet Ultron.

Though this will be the first English language series remake of Bewitched, the sitcom has already been remade in other languages. A version was produced for India in 2002 called Meri Biwi Wonderful. In 2004, a dozen episodes of an incarnation entitled Oku-sama wa majo (My Wife is a Witch) was produced for the Japanese TBS network. In Argentina, an unofficial remake called Hechizada aired for a short run in 2006. Currently, the Chilean television channel Mega is working on remaking several U.S. sitcoms. Bewitched is among them and the series is expected to be called La Hechizada.

Who knew there was so much nose-twitching going on around the globe? How long before it comes back to the U.S. shores? Hold onto your broomstick and stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

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