'Bewitched' Reboot From Kenya Barris Rolled at ABC

THR -Kenya Barris - Photographed by Sami Drasin - SPLASH 2018
Photographed by Sami Drasin

Kenya Barris' adventures at ABC continue.

The Black-ish creator, who successfully negotiated an early exit from his longtime home at ABC Studios, has seen his interracial take on Bewitched rolled for next season at the Disney-owned broadcaster.

The reboot of the 1964-1972 ABC comedy was the last project Barris sold to ABC. The single-camera comedy about a blended family — a hardworking black single mother who happens to be a witch and winds up marrying a white mortal slacker — had a sizable pilot-production commitment. The project will now be rolled into ABC's development for consideration for the 2020-21 broadcast season. Sources say the network is high on the project and wants to take its time and get the script right.

Barris co-wrote the script alongside Black-ish writer-producer Yamara Taylor. The comedy is a co-production between ABC Studios — Barris' former home — and Sony Pictures TV, the latter of which owns the rights to Bewitched. The project falls under Barris' now Netflix-based Khalabo Ink Society banner, which is overseen by former ABC head of comedy Jamila Hunter. Sony-based Davis Entertainment's John Davis and John Fox (Blacklist) also exec produce alongside Taylor.

This is the latest hiccup for Sony's attempts to revive Bewitched. The studio previously tried three times (at ABC, NBC and CBS) in the past decade to bring new life into the former Elizabeth Montgomery comedy. The title was rebooted as a feature in 2005 with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, which bombed at the box office.

For Barris, Bewitched is his latest (mis)adventure at ABC, for which he developed numerous pilots after breaking out with Peabody winner Black-ish. Of the scores of pilots he had picked up, only one — Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish — went forward and that was at ABC's younger-skewing corporate sibling, Freeform. Bewitched is Barris' first pass from new ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke, who under Freeform president Tom Ascheim picked up Grown-ish and Barris' Besties before being promoted to replace Channing Dungey at the broadcast network.

This season, ABC has already ordered five comedy pilots — half as many as last year — as sources note the network is expected to reduce its overall orders.

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