Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Genre
Created byNell Scovell
Based on
Developed byJonathan Schmock
Starring
Theme music composerDanny Lux (entire run)
Paul Taylor (seasons 5–7)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes163 (+ 3 television films) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Paula Hart
  • Nell Scovell (1996–1997)
  • Miriam Trogdon (1997–2000)
  • Carrie Honigblum &
    Renee Phillips (1999–2000)
  • Bruce Ferber (2000–2002)
  • David Babcock (2002–2003)
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkABC
ReleaseSeptember 27, 1996 (1996-09-27) –
May 5, 2000 (2000-05-05)
NetworkThe WB
ReleaseSeptember 22, 2000 (2000-09-22) –
April 24, 2003 (2003-04-24)
Related
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Acemi Cadı

Sabrina the Teenage Witch is an American television sitcom created by Nell Scovell, based on the Archie Comics series of the same name. It premiered on September 27, 1996, on ABC to over 17 million viewers in its "T.G.I.F." lineup.[1]

It stars Melissa Joan Hart as American teenager Sabrina Spellman, who, on her 16th birthday, learns she has magical powers (a departure from the Archie Comics series, in which she has known of her powers since an early age). She lives with her 600-year-old aunts, witches Hilda (played by Caroline Rhea) and Zelda (played by Beth Broderick), and their magical talking cat Salem (voiced by Nick Bakay), at 133 Collins Road[2] in the fictional town of Westbridge, Massachusetts in the Greater Boston area.

The series aired on ABC for its first four seasons, with the final episode on the network on May 5, 2000. The final three seasons ran on The WB from September 22, 2000, to April 24, 2003.

Premise

Sabrina the Teenage Witch chronicles the adventures of Sabrina Spellman (played by Melissa Joan Hart), a girl who discovers on her 16th birthday that she is a witch. As a novice witch, her spells often go awry. Her witch aunts Hilda and Zelda Spellman (played by Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, respectively[a]) counsel her on the proper use of her magic and give her moral advice. Sabrina lives with Hilda and Zelda until she leaves for college at the beginning of season 5. Additionally, Hilda and Zelda must take care of Salem Saberhagen (voiced by Nick Bakay), a witch turned into a cat for trying to take over the world.

The show includes contemporary pop cultural references, but also features fictional history (often explained as secrets hidden from mortals by witches) and science fiction elements. Story plots are often episodic, but some seasons feature running arcs, such as Sabrina's quest to find the Spellman family secret in season 3. Sabrina's basic premise and "genial loopiness" earned the show comparisons to the 1960s television series Bewitched.[3][4][5] The show spanned seven years over seven seasons, though each season was not a year.[b]

Cast and characters

Libby, Sabrina, Harvey, and Valerie

Main article: List of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996 TV series) characters

History and production

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" 1996 TV series – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

The unofficial pilot of the series was the April 1996 television movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch.[6] The movie, produced by Viacom and Hartbreak Films and aired on Showtime, starred Melissa Joan Hart as the title character, Sabrina Sawyer, and Charlene Fernetz and Sherry Miller as Sabrina's aunts Zelda and Hilda, respectively. When the television series debuted on ABC later that year, Hart became Sabrina Spellman, and Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea replaced Fernetz and Miller as Zelda and Hilda Spellman, respectively. In 2000, the show was dropped by ABC and picked up by The WB. When viewership began to wane, the show was canceled after seven seasons.[7]

The television series was produced by Hartbreak Films and Viacom Productions, with Finishing the Hat Productions involved for the first season only.

Opening sequence

The opening titles of the first three seasons show Sabrina in front of a mirror posing with four different costumes and outfits as the cast members' names quickly flash on the bottom of the screen. The first three outfits are always the same, but the fourth one changes from episode to episode. At the end, Sabrina would say something related to the last costume (often a pun or a joke related to the costume or the content of the episode), and then magically disappear from head on down.

The opening sequence was changed for the fourth season, featuring a completely new theme and the show's main characters, starting with Sabrina, floating in bubbles while their names are displayed in gold letters and a voice chants "Secret" in the background.

The opening credits for the final three seasons are accompanied by a new vocal theme song and feature Sabrina at various locations around Boston: Harvard Bridge, Boston Common, Union Oyster House, Massachusetts State House, Quincy Market, Newbury Street, Harvard University, Tufts University and Beacon Hill. In the credits for Seasons 5 and 6, after leaving Newbury Comics on Newbury Street, Sabrina walks down a flight of stairs and computer graphics morph Sabrina into her room, lying on her bed next to Salem. In the seventh and final season, the computer graphics morph Sabrina arriving at Scorch. Upon pushing the door open, she is revealed to be walking into her house to greet Roxie, Morgan and Salem.

The house pictured as the Spellman residence is a Victorian mansion located at 64 E. Main St. in Freehold, New Jersey.[8] The exteriors for Westbridge High School are those of Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey.

Departures

The show went through many cast changes, the first of which involved the unexplained departure of Sabrina's best friend Jenny Kelly (Michelle Beaudoin) and her teacher Mr. Pool (Paul Feig) at the end of the first season.

At the beginning of the fourth season, Valerie permanently departs the show along with Libby. Valerie's character moves away to Alaska with her family, while Libby transfers to a boarding school.

After the fourth season, several secondary actors left the show, including Martin Mull and Nate Richert, who played Sabrina's boyfriend Harvey since the first season. Harvey's character was dropped in order to give the show a different look as Sabrina was about to attend college. The decision was later rescinded, and Richert appeared in three episodes of Season 5 and then returned as a series regular in Seasons 6 and 7.

After the sixth season, Caroline Rhea and Beth Broderick, who had portrayed Sabrina's aunts since the show's premiere, decided to leave the show. When the character of Sabrina started to attend college, the role of her aunts became less important. Broderick felt that the role of Zelda had nothing more to offer, while Rhea landed her own syndicated talk show, The Caroline Rhea Show. The aunts left for The Other Realm but returned in the series finale.

Trevor Lissauer, who played Sabrina's housemate Miles, left the show after appearing in Seasons 5 and 6. Producers felt that his character was not well received by fans and also had to make some budget cuts for the show's seventh and final season. Miles was never properly written out, leaving his fate undetermined.

Sabrina's love interest Josh, played by David Lascher, left for Prague after appearing from Seasons 4 through 6; Lascher reportedly wanted to pursue other projects. To fill the void, the producers brought in Aaron, played by Dylan Neal, as Sabrina's love interest in the show's final season.

Broadcast and release

In 2000, The WB network picked up the series after ABC canceled it.[9][10][11]

United States syndication

The show was syndicated by Paramount Domestic Television for reruns on local stations, including Tribune-owned WB affiliates.[12]

Reruns have aired on ABC Family, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, Noggin (as part of its teen block The N), TeenNick, MTV2, Hub Network, Logo TV, Antenna TV and Fuse.[13][14][better source needed] It currently airs on Rewind TV and is available to stream on Hulu, The Roku Channel, Amazon Prime Video, Pluto TV and Paramount+.[citation needed]

International syndication

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" 1996 TV series – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

In the United Kingdom, Sabrina previously aired on ITV and Nickelodeon, while it later began airing on Pop Girl, a free-to-air children's channel. The series was slightly edited for content on UK children's channels. In July 2012, which previously broadcast the first two seasons and the two subsequent movies before shutting down in October 2015. It has aired on 4Music since 2019, and previously on The Vault since 2014 until its subsequent rebrand as Trace Vault. In October 2021, the entire series became available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, but was removed at the end of September 2022.

The show can be seen in the Republic of Ireland on RTÉ2 weekdays at 5:10 p.m. as part of the youth-oriented show TRTÉ.

In Italy, the show aired on Italia 1 under the name Sabrina, vita da strega (Sabrina, life as a witch) from September 3, 1998 until May 28, 2004.

In Australia, the show aired on Eleven, the free-to-air channel owned by Network Ten (upon which repeats of Sabrina had previously aired) at 6:00 p.m. and until December 6, 2013, with repeats at 12:30 a.m., seven days a week. It originally aired in Australia on the Seven Network during its first run.

In Canada, the show is available on Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) since the 2021 international launch and rebranding of the service.

In Russia, the first show of the series took place on the TV channel "Russia" on November 8, 2003, where it was originally broadcast until January 31, 2004 under the name "Academy of Witchcraft" and the first season was shown. Later, all seven seasons were shown in the period 2004-2006 on the STS channel (premiered on March 9, 2004).

Home media

In 2007, CBS Home Entertainment (through Paramount Home Entertainment) released seasons 1–3 on DVD. CBS later released seasons 4–7 on DVD. The official copyright holder for the series (as with all series originally produced by Viacom Productions) is CBS Studios Productions, LLC.[citation needed] For this home video release, music has been changed and many episodes are edited. Some musical performances were cut due to music licensing.[citation needed]

On July 27, 2010, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Complete Series Pack—which included an individual DVD set for each of the seven seasons, totaling 24 discs—was released from the United States by Paramount for Region 1. On February 16, 2016, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Complete Series 24-disc DVD set was released from the United States by Paramount Pictures for Region 1, as well. On August 15 of the same year, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Complete Enchanted Series 24-disc DVD box set was released from the United Kingdom by Universal Pictures for Region 2. Then on January 27, 2021, a repackaged and slightly more compact edition of the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Complete Series Region 1 DVD set (still with 24 discs) was released from the United States by Paramount Home Entertainment.

On June 21, 2023, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Complete Collection 25-disc DVD set was released from Australia by Via Vision for Region 0, including all seven seasons of the show plus the TV movies Sabrina Goes to Rome and Sabrina Down Under.

Episodes and U.S. ratings history

Main article: List of Sabrina the Teenage Witch episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedRankViewers
(millions)
First airedLast airedNetwork
124September 27, 1996 (1996-09-27)May 16, 1997 (1997-05-16)ABC419.3[citation needed]
226September 26, 1997 (1997-09-26)May 15, 1998 (1998-05-15)4112.5[15]
325September 25, 1998 (1998-09-25)May 21, 1999 (1999-05-21)4112.2[16]
422September 24, 1999 (1999-09-24)May 5, 2000 (2000-05-05)5710.2[17]
522September 22, 2000 (2000-09-22)May 18, 2001 (2001-05-18)The WB1243.8[18]
622October 5, 2001 (2001-10-05)May 10, 2002 (2002-05-10)1403.1[19]
722September 20, 2002 (2002-09-20)April 24, 2003 (2003-04-24)1463.0[20]
FilmsApril 7, 1996 (1996-04-07)September 26, 1999 (1999-09-26)Showtime
ABC

During its four-year run on ABC, Sabrina was the highest-rated series among the network's TGIF line-up. In the 2000–2001 season, the show moved to The WB after a negotiation dispute with ABC. While ABC was willing to renew the show for a fifth season, the network was not willing to pay the reported $1.5 million per episode that Viacom Productions, which produced the show, wanted. The WB then picked up the show for a mere $675,000 per episode, but agreed to commit to 66 episodes.[citation needed]

In other media

The series spawned a 1998 soundtrack and the release of several multiplatform video games beginning in 1999. A book series based on episodes from the show was produced as well as the biweekly magazine Sabrina's Secrets.[21][22]

Soundtrack

Main article: Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Album

On October 27, 1998, Geffen Records released a soundtrack for the series. The album features songs by contemporary pop artists such as Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears. It also features Melissa Joan Heart's cover of "One Way or Another" from the Season 2 episode "The Band Episode".[23] The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in the United States, double Platinum in Canada, and has sold over 700,000 copies worldwide.[24][25]

Video games

On June 11, 1999, Knowledge Adventure through Simon & Schuster Interactive and Havas Interactive officially announced the video games Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Spellbound, Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Brat Attack and Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Bundle of Magic for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

On March 29, 2001, Knowledge Adventure through Simon & Schuster Interactive and Havas Interactive officially announced the video game Sabrina the Teenage Witch: A Twitch in Time! for the PlayStation game system.[26]

Game title Platform Developer Publisher Release date
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Spellbound Macintosh, Microsoft Windows Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive August 27, 1999
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Bundle of Magic Microsoft Windows, Macintosh Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive August 27, 1999
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Brat Attack Macintosh, Microsoft Windows Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive November 8, 1999
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: A Twitch in Time! PlayStation Havas Interactive Knowledge Adventure (Havas Interactive), Simon & Schuster Interactive March 30, 2001
Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Potion Commotion Game Boy Advance Ubisoft Ubisoft April 25, 2002, September 1, 2002
Sabrina the Teenage Witch Triple Pack Microsoft Windows, Hybrid PC, Macintosh Simon & Schuster Interactive Simon & Schuster Interactive February 27, 2004

Animated series

Main article: Sabrina: The Animated Series

An animated spin-off of the show, Sabrina: The Animated Series, started airing during the live action show's 4th season. The role of Sabrina was voiced by Hart's younger sister Emily Hart. Melissa Joan Hart voiced both aunts, Hilda and Zelda, and Nick Backay reprises his role of Salem. This series was followed by a television film, Sabrina: Friends Forever, which in turn was followed by another series titled Sabrina's Secret Life. Neither Emily Hart nor Melissa Joan Hart returned for the television film or the follow-up series. An animated spin-off focusing on Salem the Cat was also slated to debut in the 2001-02 season[27] before it was scrapped.

A new animated spin-off was produced by Hub Network in 2013 called Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch. In this version, Sabrina (voiced by Ashley Tisdale) is a witch princess in training so that she can one day rule the other realm.

Notes

  1. ^ Both were regular cast members for the first six seasons but departed before season seven started. Rhea returned for a guest appearance in the series finale.
  2. ^ Season 1 and 2 cover exactly a year each, with Sabrina being 16 and 17 respectively. In Season 3 her age is not revealed, but in the Season 4 opening episode she turns 18, implying Season 3 also covers her being 17 as well. Season 4 covers her 18th birthday and that year. Season 5 starts a summer later, with Sabrina being 19 - she spends three years at college in journalism which is covered in Seasons 5 and 6. She has graduated by the beginning of Season 7 (as she's living in the Spellman House with Roxie and Morgan and working), meaning she is aged up to 22 over two seasons covering three in universe years. In the final season, Sabrina is 23.

References

  1. ^ "Debut Of ABC's 'Sabrina' Lures More Than 17 Million Viewers", Orlando Sentinel, October 3, 1996
  2. ^ Season 1, Episode 23
  3. ^ Gerston, Jill (October 6, 1996). "A 'Normal Kid' With Magical Powers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  4. ^ David, Bianculli (September 25, 1996). "Witch Sitcom a Brew Ha-Ha". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  5. ^ Levesque, John (September 27, 1996). "ABC's new 'Sabrina' could play as 'Bewitched: The Teen-age Years'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-12-20.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Bianculli, David (April 4, 1996). "'Clarissa' Makes a Bewitching 'Sabrina'". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  7. ^ ""Sabrina" Goes Poof!". E! Online. 2003-04-21. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2023-12-18.
  8. ^ 19 Locations From Your Favorite TV Shows You Can Visit in Real Life http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/tv-show-locations/9
  9. ^ Adalian, Josef (April 4, 2000). "'Witch' to switch?". Variety. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  10. ^ Schneider, Michael; Adalian, Josef (April 6, 2000). "ABC: 'Witch' way now?". Variety. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  11. ^ Prudom, Laura (June 27, 2014). "Remembering...ABC's TGIF Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  12. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (September 28, 1998). "'Sabrina,' 'Clueless' set for syndie run on WB affils". Variety. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  13. ^ Pavan (February 9, 2011). "ABC Family March 2011, Sabrina the Teenage Witch Leaves; Remembering Peggy Rea". SitcomsOnline.com.
  14. ^ "The Hub April 2012 Schedule With Facts of Life, Mork & Mindy; TV Land Brings Back Gunsmoke". SitcomsOnline.com. March 19, 2012. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  15. ^ "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly. May 29, 1998. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
  16. ^ "TV Winners & Losers: Numbers Racket A Final Tally Of The Season's Show". Entertainment Weekly. June 4, 1999. Archived from the original on February 13, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2010 – via GeoCities.
  17. ^ "Top TV Shows For 1999-2000 Season". Variety. Archived from the original on January 20, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
  18. ^ "The Bitter End". Entertainment Weekly. June 1, 2001. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  19. ^ "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
  20. ^ "Rank and File". Entertainment Weekly. June 1, 2003. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
  21. ^ Mohlman, Danielle (2018-10-31). "Our Favorite Sabrina the Teenage Witch Books, Ranked". Quirk Books. Retrieved 2024-06-09.
  22. ^ Nallawalla, Kate (2020-12-10). "Sabrina The Teenage Witch's Sabrina's Secrets Magazines". Melbourne Girl Stuff. Retrieved 2024-06-09.
  23. ^ McCormick, Moira (10 October 1998). "'Sabrina' Album Hopes To Cast Spell On Show's Teen Demo". Billboard. p. 72. ((cite magazine)): Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  24. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  25. ^ "Gold/Platinum". Music Canada. 1999-03-12. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  26. ^ "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: A Twitch in Time Released for PSX" (Press release). Knowledge Adventure. May 4, 2012. Retrieved 2020-12-03 – via GameZone.com.
  27. ^ Schlosser, Joe (November 27, 2000). "DIC departs from Disney" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. 130 (49): 102 – via World Radio History.