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3 YEARS

Comic-Con 2011: 'The Secret Circle' Has 'Same Vibe' as 'Vampire Diaries' (Video)

Executive producer Kevin Williamson and star Britt Robertson tell THR the witchy series will have a similar pacing yet still be its own animal.

The Secret Circle
David Gray/The CW

“If you like The Vampire Diaries, this is a show you will enjoy just as well,” executive producer Kevin Williamson said of the CW’s new supernatural series The Secret Circle during the freshman series’ debut at Comic-Con on Saturday.

The series also hails from Vampire Diaries author L.J. Smith and, while it will create its own world of supernatural rules and characters, it will quickly evolve into the same fast-paced primetime soap like its Thursday night companion.

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Williamson noted the series -- which stars Life Unexpected’s Britt Robertson as Cassie, an orphaned teenager forced to move in with her grandmother who learns that she’s a third-generation witch, will have a pacing similar to Season 1 of Vampire Diaries before the pace picks up to the fast-paced third season of the Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder series.

“We’re going to start at the beginning, on the ground floor, learning who these people are, learning the history of the town,” Williamson told The Hollywood Reporter during the series’ press room session Saturday night.

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“You have this horrific event that happened all these years ago [with first-generation witches] and how does it inform today?” he said. “What are the rules of witchcraft? What are the rules of the circle? There’s so much to learn. It gets pretty fast by the third episode, but at the same time we’re really trying to really slow down and come from an emotional place where you don’t just watch the show but you feel it.”

Williamson, who exec produces alongside Richard Hatem and Andrew Miller, noted that Circle will stand on its own and that fans shouldn’t expect to see a crossover with Diaries’ Bonnie (Kat Graham).

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“They’re two different worlds,” Williamson said during the packed panel in Room 6BCF. “They’re from the same novelist but the worlds don’t intersect. This is witches; there’s a huge mythology that doesn’t connect to Bonnie and The Vampire Diaries. This is a brand new story.”

Added Robertson: “We’re trying to keep the shows separate enough to where they can stand alone but still have that same vibe.”

The actress told THR that she read both of Smith’s Secret Circle books but intentionally didn’t research anything else about witchcraft ahead of filming.

“I realized that my character is so new to witchcraft that she has no idea about anything in this world,” she said. “I thought it would be interesting if for the pilot at least I had very little knowledge [of witchcraft] -- that I was discovering it as she was discovering it.”

Watch the full interview with Robertson below to hear her thoughts on being part of the CW’s supernatural family and working with Williamson.

Secret Circle premieres Thursday, Sept. 15 at 9 p.m.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit