|Sabrina the Teenage Witch|
|Created by||Nell Scovell|
|Developed by||Jonathan Schmock|
|Voices of||Nick Bakay|
|Theme music composer||Danny Lux (entire run)|
Paul Taylor (seasons 5-7)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||163 (+ 3 television films)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Distributor||Paramount Domestic Television|
|Picture format||NTSC (480i)|
|Audio format||Stereo surround sound|
|Original release||September 27, 1996 -|
April 24, 2003
|Related shows||Chilling Adventures of Sabrina|
Sabrina the Teenage Witch is an American television sitcom created by Nell Scovell, based on the Archie Comics series of the same name. The show premiered on Friday, September 27, 1996 on ABC to over 17 million viewers in its "T.G.I.F." lineup.
The show stars Melissa Joan Hart as American teenager Sabrina Spellman, who, on her 16th birthday, learns that she has magical powers (a departure from the Archie Comics series, in which she has known of her powers since an early age). Sabrina 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 in the fictional Boston suburb of Westbridge, Massachusetts through most of the series.
The show 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, until 2002) counsel her on the proper use of her magic and give her moral advice. 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. Sabrina's basic premise and "genial loopiness" earned the show comparisons to the 1960s television series Bewitched.
The show included contemporary pop cultural references, with Sabrina often saying that she liked Britney Spears and No Doubt. It also mentioned human history alongside witch history, such as the Salem witch hunt, which Zelda tells Sabrina was not a hunt for real witches. Hilda mentions to Sabrina in Episode 1 that "for two months a bunny ruled all of England," causing the witches' council to turn back time, as if to say that mortals are ignorant at best. One episode also suggests that Jerry Springer is a witch when he hosts The Jerry Springer Show in the other realm.
While in the animated comic book series the story is set in the fictional town of Greendale, the television show is set in the fictional Boston suburb of Westbridge, Massachusetts.
The show spanned seven years over seven seasons, though each season was not a year.[a]
The pilot episode opens with Sabrina asleep on her 16th birthday, levitating above her bed. In the morning, her aunts reveal to her that she is a witch, but Sabrina does not believe them until she has a magical talk with her father from inside a book and her father reveals that he is a witch and Sabrina's mother is mortal. It is also revealed that Sabrina cannot see her mother, who is in Peru for two years, or else her mother will be transformed into a ball of wax. After a rough day at school, Sabrina accidentally turns Libby Chessler, the most popular girl in school, into a pineapple. Fearing that she will appear "weird" to her crush, Harvey Kinkle, Sabrina asks the witches' council to let her relive the day. The first season follows Sabrina as she tries to keep the balance between being a teenager and possessing magical powers. Sabrina's friend Jenny Kelley and her teacher, Mr. Pool, both exit the series without explanation after the first season.
At the beginning of the second season, Sabrina turns 17 and learns that she must earn her witch's license or otherwise lose her magic abilities. However, she neglects her aunts' warnings to study for the license test and consequently fails it. Sabrina then must attend witch boot camp before she can take a makeup test, which she passes, though she only receives a learner's permit. Her aunts explain that she will be able to earn her license when she turns 18 ("when she can pay for the insurance") and that she will be tested throughout the year by a Quizmaster, a witch who instructs other witches earning their licenses. Also introduced during the season are Sabrina's neurotic friend Valerie and the new school vice principal, Mr. Kraft, who finds Sabrina to be very odd and has a crush on Hilda.
At the beginning of the third season, Sabrina earns her license, but learns that in order to use it, she must solve her family's secret. Throughout the season, family members visit her and provide clues. At the end of the season, she solves the family secret, that every member of the Spellman family is born with a twin. The season ends with Sabrina finally being granted her licence.
The fourth season begins with the news that Valerie has moved away while Libby has gone to boarding school. As one of the conditions for her witch's licence Sabrina is assigned to be a mentor, which is similar to a Quizmaster, except that Quizmasters are paid. Sabrina's charge is Dreama, a witch newly immigrated from the Other Realm. A new student, Brad Alcero, who is also Harvey's best friend, transfers to Sabrina's school. Because Brad has a witch-hunter gene (which allows him to turn a witch into a mouse if the witch reveals his/her magic), he takes an instant dislike to Sabrina who must keep herself and Dreama from using magic in front of Brad. Sabrina begins working at Bean There, Brewed That, a coffee shop, where Sabrina meets and is attracted to Josh (played by David Lascher), a college student and manager of the shop. After she kisses Josh, Harvey breaks up with her, though they soon get back together. Both Dreama and Brad are written out of the series without explanation over the course of the season. At the end of the season, Harvey reaches his "spell quota" meaning that no more spells may be used on him and rendering him immune to a memory spell that was recently placed on him. The season ends with Harvey confronting Sabrina over the fact she is a witch.
At the beginning of the fifth season, Sabrina starts college at Adams College and moves out of her aunts' house and into a house with other students at Adams. It is revealed that Harvey broke up with Sabrina following the revelation she was a witch and went to college elsewhere, although he later calls her to make amends. Sabrina's roommates are Morgan Cavanaugh, a shallow girl (played by Elisa Donovan), Roxie King (played by Soleil Moon Frye), a social feminist and Miles Goodman (played by Trevor Lissauer), a geek who is obsessed with science fiction and the paranormal. Hilda and Zelda, feeling lonely without Sabrina, find ways to stay close to her. Hilda buys the coffee shop where Sabrina works and Zelda becomes a professor at Adams and starts dating Sabrina's English professor. The season ends with Sabrina and Josh giving into their feelings and sharing a passionate kiss.
At the beginning of the sixth season, Josh and Sabrina get together but soon face a tough decision when Josh is tempted to move abroad to work as a photographer. More complications ensue when Harvey reappears, this time dating Morgan. At the end of the season, Sabrina sacrifices true love to save Hilda after Sabrina sabotages her relationship. Hilda recovers and is married, but Sabrina is crushed when Josh, Harvey and an attractive waiter announce they are all moving away and will never see her again. The season ends on a cliffhanger as Sabrina turns to stone and falls to pieces.
At the beginning of the seventh and final season, Sabrina is put back together after Zelda sacrifices her adult years to save Sabrina. Zelda and Hilda move to the Other Realm (Miles simply disappears between seasons without explanation) with Sabrina moving back into the house along with Morgan and Roxie. Sabrina gets a job as a writer for the entertainment magazine Scorch, but this storyline and all of its associated characters are dropped midway through the season. Sabrina then meets Aaron, the man to whom she becomes engaged. In the series finale, Sabrina calls off her wedding with Aaron and runs off with her soulmate Harvey at 12:36 p.m., the time of day when they had first met (a plot point in the Season 1 episode "As Westbridge Turns"). In the last scene of the series, Sabrina and Harvey ride off on his motorcycle to the song "Running" by No Doubt, Sabrina's favorite band.
The unofficial pilot of the series was the April 1996 television movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch. 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.
The television series was produced by Hartbreak Films and Viacom Productions, with Finishing the Hat Productions involved for the first season only.
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. The exteriors for Westbridge High School are those of Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey.
The show went through many cast changes, the first of which involved the unexplained departure of Sabrina's best friend Jenny Kelly (Michelle Beaudoin) 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 characters 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.
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.
Reruns have aired on ABC Family, Nick at Nite, Noggin (as part of its teen block The N), TeenNick, MTV2, Hub Network, Logo TV and Antenna TV.[better source needed] It currently airs on Fuse and is available to stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+.
In the United Kingdom, Sabrina previously aired on ITV and Nickelodeon. It began airing on Pop Girl, a free-to-air children's channel, 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 Australia, the show aired on Eleven, the free-to-air channel owned by Network Ten (upon which Sabrina had originally aired) at 6:00 p.m. and until December 6, 2013, with repeats at 12:30 a.m., seven days a week.
In Canada, the show is available on Paramount+ (former 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).
In 2007, CBS Paramount Television released seasons 1-3 on DVD. CBS Television Distribution 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. For this home video release, music has been changed and many episodes are edited. Some musical performances were cut due to music licensing.
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||24||September 27, 1996||May 17, 1997||ABC||41||9.3|
|2||26||September 26, 1997||May 15, 1998||41||12.5|
|3||25||September 25, 1998||May 21, 1999||41||12.2|
|4||22||September 24, 1999||May 5, 2000||57||10.2|
|5||22||September 22, 2000||May 18, 2001||The WB||124||3.8|
|6||22||October 5, 2001||May 10, 2002||140||3.1|
|7||22||September 20, 2002||April 24, 2003||146||3.0|
|Films||April 7, 1996||September 26, 1999||Showtime |
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.
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.
|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||No developer available||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|
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. 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.
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.