Plus, Susan Sarandon turns up on TV, and more
Emily Hart, Melissa Joan Hart
Credit: The Harts: Paul Smith/Feature Flash/Retna

SISTER, SISTER The Lawrence brothers. The Olsen twins. And now… Hart to Hart? Yes, the pantheon of sibling TV dynasties may be picking up a few new members: This spring, the WB will air a special episode of Melissa Joan Hart’s ”Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” that will serve as a pilot for a spinoff sitcom. Set at a boarding school for magic challenged witches, the proposed series features Sabrina’s bratty cousin, Amanda, who’ll be played by… Melissa’s sis, 14 year old Emily. (She’s already had some practice in the role, having guest starred several times on ”Sabrina” as Amanda.)

”’Sabrina’ will be on for quite some time,” notes Paula Hart, the girls’ mother and ”Sabrina” exec producer, ”but as she’s growing older, it’s time to fill those shoes again with a younger witch.” But Emily has mixed feelings about following in her big sister’s footsteps. ”I was pretty excited,” confides Emily, ”but then I also was sort of upset. I don’t want to take time off from school, I don’t think you understand how much I love school.” A teenager who loves school? If this witch thing doesn’t work out, maybe Emily can get a gig on ”The X-Files.” — Dan Snierson

SUDDENLY SUSAN It’s been 28 years since Susan Sarandon played Sarah Fairbanks on the defunct soap ”Search for Tomorrow,” but the Oscar winner will revisit her television roots in two guest gigs slated for early 2001. In February, Sarandon makes her second appearance on Fox’s nutty ”MAD tv” (her kids’ favorite show), playing the tooth fairy. And Sarandon reports she’ll tape an episode of NBC’s ”Friends” in January, portraying a diva on ”Days of Our Lives” opposite Joey (Matt LeBlanc). Says Sarandon of her return to TV, ”I did a soap opera years ago, but it still takes a while getting used to multiple cameras. It’s pretty scary. I’m about to vomit.” Cue the dramatic organ music. — William Keck

GREAT SCOTT Fox has found a new superhero: comic book scribe Scott Lobdell. After scripting Marvel’s ”X-Men” for seven years, Lobdell has created — and, more impressively, sold — an eccentric trio of shows to the network. There’s ”Ball and Chain,” a sitcom based on Lobdell’s comic book creation of a couple on the verge of divorce whose superpowers work only when they’re together. ”I’m very excited by the idea of a show where two people can’t live with each other and can’t live without each other, either — literally.”

On the drama side, he’s got ”None of the Above,” about a racially diverse group of kids from the future struggling to repair the earth’s thrashed ecosystem. (Lobdell has described ”None” as ”’Party of Five’ meets ‘Terminator 2.”’) Rounding out the television trifecta is ”Ambushed,” a game show where contestants are waylaid in random locales and quizzed for cash prizes. So how does Lobdell account for his sudden small screen prowess? ”I may just have my thumb on the pulse of the national zeitgeist,” he says. ”Whatever that means.” — Ray Richmond