Continuing its expansion into original series, Hallmark Channel has inked a deal with ITV Studios America for The Good Witch, based on the network’s most successful movie franchise.
With Catherine Bell (Army Wives, JAG) again starring as raven-haired enchantress and haunted house resident Cassie Nightingale, the 10-episode first season of The Good Witch, which will film in Canada, is expected to bow in the first quarter of 2015. In the meantime, the seventh film in the franchise, The Good Witch’s Wonder, also starring Chris Potter asJake Russell (pictured), will premiere on Hallmark Channel on Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).
“From the moment the first film in The Good Witch series premiered, we knew audiences would fall in love with Catherine Bell and this character and want to see more of her,” said Michelle Vicary, executive vice president Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel. "The Good Witch franchise has consistently delivered top ratings with the airing of every film, and we expect the highly-anticipated TV series to deliver even more success. Catherine has been one of the most sought after talents in our industry, and now she has a weekly home on Hallmark Channel.”
The series marks the fourth scripted skein for Hallmark Channel and follows the pattern in which the family-friendly service launches shows from original telefilms. The network is scheduled to go into production on Sherryl Woods's Chesapeake Shores in August or September, with the telefilm being viewed as a backdoor pilot toward potential series production.
Hallmark on Saturday nights is currently airing When Calls The Heart, based on the best-selling Canadian West novels by Janette Oke and starring Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing and Lori Loughlin. The show followed the July 19, 2013 series debut of Cedar Cove, based on Debbie Macomber's books. Cedar Cove, starring Andie McDowell and Dylan Neal as judge, journalist and lovers in a small town in Washington state, will return for its 12-installment, sophomore season this July.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, created and executive-produced by Martha Williamson, best known as the creative force behind CBS's Touched By An Angel, will represent Hallmark Channel’s entry into the highly competitive Sunday night arena, when it premieres on April 20 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT, 7CT). The series stars Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Kristin Booth (The Kennedys), Crystal Lowe (Smallville) and Geoff Gustafson (Primeval: New World) as postal detectives who track down intended recipients of undeliverable mail.
Based on characters created by Rod Spence, The Good Witch is a Whizbang Films Production. Orly Adelson, Jonathan Eskenas, Frank Siracusa and Craig Pryce are the executive producers, with Bell serving as co-executive producer.
ITV Studios America controls distribution rights in the world for The Good Witch outside of North America.