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Why Was Bewitched Cancelled? Everything We Know

Why Was Bewitched Cancelled? Everything We Know

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Bewitched followed the adventures of the witch Samantha and her ordinary mortal husband Darrin. Samantha’s magical family tries to cause trouble for the two and Samantha tries to put things right.

But the magic of Bewitched wasn’t just on television screens in the 60s. The show is still iconic today, especially Samantha’s famous nose twitch when she uses her magic.

Surprisingly, the show only had eight seasons despite initially high ratings. Even more surprising is that it ABCe intended it to last much longer but cancelled it 1972.

What happened to Bewitched to make it end so abruptly? And could there be a new version on the horizon? Read our guide on Bewitched below to find out!

Why Was Bewitched Really Cancelled?

ABC cancelled Bewitched in 1972 because the lead actor, Elizabeth Montgomery, wanted to pursue other projects. Her marriage to the show’s director, William Asher, was also falling apart, making another season virtually impossible.

Some blame low ratings for Bewitched’s cancellation. While it’s true the ratings dropped during season 6 and didn’t really recover, ABC still had faith in the sitcom. They were willing to renew it for another two seasons, but Montgomery and Asher were finished by season 8.

Samantha and Endora from Bewitched TV series

The marriage between the two was ending, and in 1973, the year after the end of Bewitched, they divorced. No longer able to work together amicably, the two told ABC the show wouldn’t continue.

Asher and Montgomery owned Ashmont, the production company behind Bewitched, they offered ABC a different deal. Instead of two more seasons of Bewitched, Ashmont gave them a new sitcom, The Paul Lynde Show.

After Bewitched, Elizabeth Montgomery pursued roles that were much different from the twitchy-nosed witch Samantha. For the rest of her career, Montgomery appeared exclusively in TV movies and miniseries, many of which had dark themes.

Most notably, she appeared as a rape victim in 1974’s A Case of Rape and as Lizzie Borden in The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975). Both TV movies earned her an Emmy nomination.

Did A Controversial Scene Get Bewitched Cancelled?

There was no single moment in Bewitched that caused the show’s cancellation. While there is an episode that involves blackface, it was intended as an indictment of racism.

Season 7, episode 13, “Sisters at Heart”, has a momentary scene where Samantha and Darrin’s daughter, Tabitha, accidentally changes the skin color of herself and her friend. Tabitha momentarily looks black, and Lisa looks white.

Eventually the two simply end up with polka-dots on their face. But their friendship causes the racism of one of Darrin’s clients, Mr. Brockway, to light.

Bewitched Season 7, episode 13, Sisters at Heart scene

To teach him a lesson, Samantha casts a spell on Mr. Brockway so that he sees everyone at a party as being black, including himself. Brockway sees the error of his ways at the end of the episode.

While having the white characters in the show wear blackface seems controversial today, the episode was written by a class of African-American students.

Critics and audiences praised the message of the episode, and it earned the Governor’s Award at the 1971 Emmys. It didn’t cause the show’s cancellation; rather, Elizabeth Montgomery and William Asher simply didn’t want to make the show anymore.

Why Did The Cast Change On Bewitched?

Bewitched replaced the original actors for Darrin, Louise, and Gladys Kravitz due to injuries, family issues, and the death of the actor.

In the cast of Darrin, Dick York played the main character for the first five seasons from 1964 to 1969. Before Bewitched, York suffered a back injury on the set of They Came to Cordura(1959).

The injury never healed properly; in fact, it continued to worsen, although York was able to work for several more years. Eventually, York’s health got worse, and he collapsed on the set of Bewitched.

After disappearing from the show for a few episodes at the end of season 5, York’s last appearance was season 5, episode 30, “Samantha and Darrin in Mexico City.”

Dick Sargent replaced York as Darrin with no in-universe explanation for the change, leading to confusion among fans of the show.

Two characters from the Bewitched TV series

As for Louise Tate, her original actress, Irene Vernon reportedly left the show due to her husband’s failing health. However, Vernon claimed in 1988 that the show fired her due to her friendship with Danny Arnold.

Danny Arnold, the show’s first head writer and producer, left the show after the first season. Vernon says that star Elizabeth Montgomery and her husband William Asher didn’t like Arnold. So, because Vernon was his friend, she had to leave as well.

Finally, Sandra Gould replaced Alice Pearce as Gladys Kravitz in 1966. Pearce died earlier that year from ovarian cancer at the age of 48.

Will There Be A Reboot Of Bewitched?

Sony Pictures Television – Kids is developing an animated reboot of Bewitched as of October 2023.

The series will center on Samantha and Darrin’s daughter, Tabitha, as a pre-teen. Sony is comparing it to “double-life” adventure Hannah Montana mixed with the magic of Harry Potter.

ABC actually bought the idea of a live-action reboot of Bewitched in 2018 from Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. The network wanted it as a single camera sitcom about an interracial blended family with the magic of the original Bewitched.

So far, though, there’s no other news about this version and it’s likely no longer happening.