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‘Charmed’ “Feminist” Reboot From Jennie Snyder Urman & ‘Dead Inside’ From Bill Lawrence Get CW Pilot Orders

For a second consecutive year, the CW has handed out its first two pilot orders to a high-profile reboot of a long-running series from CBS TV Studios and a project from one of Warner Bros. TV’s top producers. Last season, the nods went to Dynasty and the Greg Berlanti-produced Searchers. This time the network has greenlighted a new Charmed, from Jane the Virgin creator/showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman and the CW dramedy’s executive producer Ben Silverman, writers/co-executive producers Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin, and the pilot’s director Brad Silberling; as well as Dead Inside, an hourlong drama from writer Katie Lovejoy and producer Bill Lawrence.

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The CW originally tried to bring back Charmed, one of the signature dramas of predecessor the WB, last season, when it ordered a reimagining of the original Aaron Spelling series from the same creative auspices. It was to be set in 1976 and feature a new trio of witches. The project was rolled over to this development season largely because Urman was too busy with Jane the Virgin and had no time to work on Charmed. 

The new Charmed script, penned by O’Toole and Rardin based on a story by Urman, is set in present time. Per the CW, whose brass greenlighted the pilot shortly after getting the script, “this fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done.”

Urman, O’Toole and Rardin executive produce with  Silverman and Silberling who is set to direct.

The original series, created by Constance M. Burge and produced by Spelling TV and CBS TV Studios predecessor Paramount TV, aired on the WB for eight seasons. The high-rated show about a trio of sisters who are good witches underwent a casting change, with original cast member Shannen Doherty replaced after Season 3 by Rose McGowan, who joined co-leads Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano.

The CW sibling network CBS previously took a stab at a Charmed reboot during the 2013-14 development season. The project, from a different writing-producing team, did not go beyond the script stage.

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In Dead Inside, penned by Lovejoy, after surviving an explosion that killed her hotshot detective big brother, an underachieving beat cop starts seeing his ghost, flipping their sibling dynamic on its head and allowing her to truly live her life for the first time, as they work together to help crime victims both living and dead, and figure out the unfinished business keeping his spirit on Earth.

The premise is somewhat reminiscent of last season’s CW/WBTV drama series Frequency, in which a young female detective was able to communicate with her dead cop father to solve a case together.

Lovejoy executive produces Dead Inside with Doozer’s Lawrence and Jeff Ingold. Doozer also is behind the upcoming CW comedic hourlong series Life Sentence.

On the feature side, Lovejoy was tapped by Warner Bros. to write The Selection, based on the YA books; and the Pride & Prejudice retelling The Season. In TV, she wrote the 2016 NBC drama pilot Miranda’s Rights.

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