Kenya Barris & Yamara Taylor to reboot Bewitched with interracial twist

In a time when reboots are the cat's pajamas, is it really any surprise that a reboot of the 1960s sitcom BEWITCHED has received a pilot order courtesy of ABC Studios? Actually, that was a trick question, of course you're not surprised. However, there's an angle to this announcement that has the potential to deliver a fresh spin on the premise, as the new version will hail from BLACK-ISH creator Kenya Barris, who sold the BEWITCHED project to ABC Studios right before he left the network for a lucrative deal with Netflix. As per Barris' version, the new BEWITCHED will arrive as a single camera, interracial blended family comedy. Joining Barris in the effort to update the magically-charged sitcom is BLACK-ISH writer and co-producer Yamara Taylor. When the new show wiggles its nose for audiences, it will do so under  ABC Studios, Sony Pictures TV (who holds the rights to the property), and Sony-based Davis Entertainment.

For BEWITCHED, which is set to be written by both Barris and Taylor, Samantha, a hardworking black single mom who happens to be a witch, marries Darren, a white mortal who happens to be a bit of a 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.

Anyone here remember the original BEWITCHED? I used to catch reruns of the show that ran from 1964-1972 on Nick at Night. Created by Sol Saks and executive produced by Harry Ackerman, the original series starred Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha, a witch married to a string bean of a man named Darrin Stevens played by Dick York. While living with her mortal husband, Samantha attempts to navigate a "man's world" as a magic-less housewife. Along her journey to fit in, Samantha and members of her family make life difficult for Darrin, as they can't seem to keep from using their magic to solve life's everyday problems. Time and again Samantha's chicanery places her and her loved ones in absurd situations, though each episode always ends with a heartfelt laugh and a lesson learned. I recall the show as being rather entertaining, although that infamous "blackface" episode did leave me feeling a might uncomfortable, even way back when. 

According to Deadline, who broke the news about the upcoming show this afternoon, Barris is executive producing by way of his Khalabo Ink Society studio alongside Taylor and Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox.

It's also worth noting that this isn't the first time that BEWITCHED has attempted a move back into pop culture. In 2005, Columbia Pictures and director Nora Ephron created a feature film based on the comedy starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. Unfortunately, the movie failed to cast a spell over audiences, but the original series still garners high numbers as it airs in syndication throughout many parts of the world.

With Barris and Taylor at the helm, fans of the series can look forward to plenty of changes to the old formula, as well as a reliant dose of comedy from the duo that's been making people laugh for the past several years.



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