The ‘Bewitched’ reboot for ABC is not progressing to the pilot stage at this time, meaning that there is no way that it could make this year’s fall schedule. But the project remains in active development. This version originated with ‘black-ish’ creator Kenya Barris and writer Yamara Taylor and would have updated the old series by making its lead character, Samantha, black. She would have been married to a white mortal.
According to ABC’s new president Karey Burke:
“I thought it was an incredibly smart rethink and re-telling of that story. Kenya is peerless in the television business as far as I’m concerned…[Kenya and I] decided together that the script wasn’t quite there.”
The original ‘Bewitched’, which aired from 1964-72, was a light-hearted analogy for mixed-marriages, which were rare but increasingly common at that time. Rather than being of two ethnicities, the sitcom depicted a witch married to an ordinary human. In Barris’ remake, Samantha would have been a successful single mother married to a human slacker. “They struggle to navigate their differences as she discovers that even when a black girl is literally magic, she’s still not as powerful as a decently tall white man with a full head of hair in America.”
This project isn’t necessarily dead. It sounds as though the script just wasn’t strong enough, but with additional work, it may be ready to go next year.
As for Barris, he recently launched the ‘black-ish’ spinoff ‘grown-ish’ on Freeform. He is also working on the script for the sequel ‘Coming 2 America’ with Eddie Murphy and James Earl Jones. In a non-comedic move, ‘Shaft’, which he wrote and produced opens on June 14.
The original ‘Bewitched’ was the #1 sitcom and #2 show overall in America when it aired. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as Samantha, with Dick York as her husband Darrin. Dick Sargent replaced York beginning in Season 6. In 2005, Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman starred in a live-action film based on the series.