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A few years back, CBS was gearing up for a remake of the classic sitcom Bewitched, but the project fell through before it even got a broomstick beneath it. While CBS isn’t directly involved (yet), the Bewitched remake lives on, and Sony Pictures TV is trying out a new version to shop around to networks all over the dial. Get your most fashionable pointy hats ironed and ready to go.
Red Wagon Entertainment, the production company backing the failed CBS project, is behind this version as well, and they’ve brought along screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein to bring this battle between marriage and witchcraft back to TV audiences. Kohn and Silverstein are best known for their string of big screen romances, including He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day and The Vow. (This doesn’t bode well.) On the TV side of things, the pair created the short-lived 2000 Fox drama Opposite Sex and worked on the Alicia Silverstone comedy Miss Match back in 2003.
For those too young and/or unmagical to remember, Bewitched was a 1964-1972 Sol Saks-created sitcom that centered on the Stevens family. Darrin (Dick York, Dick Sergeant), the loving and mortal ad exec and his wife Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), a bona fide witch. A lot of their conflicts involved him not wanting her to use her witchcraft, and then her getting into a situation where witchcraft is the only valid solution. Many of their woes are put into place by Samantha’s classically savage mother Endora (Agnes Moorehead), whose distaste for Darrin knows no bounds. I can’t help but feel like the casting of this character will be this project’s linchpin; does anyone know if Jessica Lange minds returning to a witch character?
The only real description given by Deadline is that it’s going to be a modern-day take on the material. You may recall this was already attempted (in a sense) in feature form back in 2005 with Nora Ephron behind the camera and screenplay. Nicole Kidman and Will Farrell were a fine pair, but that concept was a little twisted and involved a show-within-a-show plot.
This new version is likely a more direct adaptation, which allows for the original series’ rich cast of side characters to get reimagined. Gladys Kravitz (Alice Pearce, Sandra Gould) is one of the most treasured foils of 1960s TV, always catching Samantha up to no good but never sounding sane enough for anyone, not even her husband, to believe her. No one could ever replace the fabulous Paul Lynde as childish prankster Uncle Arthur, nor Alice Ghostley as the far-past-her-prime housekeeper Esmerelda, but I can deal with people trying. Here’s hoping they at least start Samantha and Darrin off without children Tabitha and Adam.
This is the umpteenth remake in a long line of recent series revivals. Which network should fight the hardest to pick Bewitched up?