Lifetime’s newest drama Witches Of East End will debut October 6, the network’s EVP Programming Rob Sharenow announced at the start of that show’s Q&A session at TCA this afternoon. TV critics with suspicious minds wanted to discuss the fact that the name of Lifetime’s witch show sounds suspiciously like that of the John Updike novel made into a hit flick made into an ABC drama series that came and went in the blink of an eye. Witches Of East End exec producer Maggie Freidman, whose patience we hope we inherit in our next life, explained sweetly that her show is based on Melissa de la Cruz’s very popular novel of same name, and the idea is to attract the many fans of the book to the TV series, making all suggestions of a name change, however well-intended, pure horseradish. Besides, Friedman noted, the tone of her show is very different from that of the Updike-inspired ABC one. This one’s about Joanna Beauchamp (Julia Ormond), whose particular curse is that she keeps giving birth to the same two daughters, over and over again — a sort of OBGYN Groundhog Day. The daughters keep dying, which causes her to get preggers again, and so on. Friedman says it’s a metaphor for motherhood, making motherhood sound like a perfect hell.Joanna’s sister character has it easy — she’s a cat with nine lives. That character is not in the book.
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