The latest news from the TV beat

By EW Staff
Updated January 05, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

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 spin-off 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

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