Why the Sabrina the Teenage Witch series went to Netflix over the CW
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Despite initially being set over at the CW, the upcoming Sabrina the Teenage Witch project recently found a home at Netflix — and the answer as to why is as simple as the streaming service offering a very lucrative deal.
The untitled adaptation of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic had originally been in development at the CW as a possible companion show to Riverdale, as both shows hail from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and are based on characters from the Archie Comics universe. But Netflix was willing to give the show a sizable two-season, 20-episode straight-to-series order, which is the reason behind the move.
“There was opportunity that Warners had that Netflix made them a two-season offer,” CW boss Mark Pedowitz tells EW. “We understood that, and I wish Roberto and everybody really well as far as that goes. We have great development in Charmed and a number of other shows, so we’ll muddle through it.”
The Untitled Sabrina Project imagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (to be played by Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka) as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult, and, of course, witchcraft. Tonally in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, this adaptation finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.
The character of Sabrina was rumored to potentially appear on Riverdale. After all, Jason Blossom had traveled to the Greendale side of the river before his untimely death in the series premiere, and Greendale is Sabrina’s hometown. That fact was one of the clues that led fans to believe Riverdale was possibly going to adapt Sacasa’s other Archie Comics run, Afterlife With Archie. More on that here.
It’s still unclear whether the project will cross over with Riverdale now that it’s on Netflix. “At the moment, there is no discussion about crossing over,” Pedowitz says.
Aguirre-Sacasa, who penned The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comics, will write and executive produce the project with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater, and Lee Toland Krueger, who will also direct.