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Feature: Charmed

Forever Charmed

The Charm-ing line-up

After eight year’s, it’s time for the witches’ final brew. Producer Brad Kern reflects on the season so far, and the coming end…

After eight years, Charmed’s final episode will air in May. For its writer, executive producer Brad Kern, it’s a case of been there, done that, as he had the task of bringing a close to the series a year ago, before it was renewed for one more season at the last minute. This time there’s no doubt that it’s the end though, and Kern comments, “I feel blessed that we’ve been given the chance to wrap everything up. I don’t think there are many shows in the history of television, and certainly in this competitive era of television, where that actually happens. You always start a programme knowing that one day it’ll be cancelled, but that’s not even the case with Charmed. It’s just a matter of the series not being picked up any more. It’s the end of the run, which is, I believe, a natural growth, and we’re closing shop on our own terms. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

In last season’s finale, Something Wicca This Way Goes..., Kern provided an ending of sorts as the Halliwell sisters faked their own deaths after saving the world one more time, in the hope of living a more normal life. But in Season Eight playing dead proved as complicated as staying alive, and that went doubly for the series’ writing staff.

“I wrote a hybrid series/season finale at the end of last year, not knowing whether or not we were coming back,” recalls the executive producer. “When the show was renewed, we then had to scramble to pick up the few nuggets we had left behind and build another season from that. It was daunting having to start off an eighth year of Charmed like that and try to figure out how to weave a creative story arc through a season given all the handicaps, including tremendous budget constraints. I mean, the network picked up the series but they did so by basically taking away 20% of our budget, which was humungous. We were no longer able to do any location filming, so one of the first things we had to do was let our transportation department go, which was sad because these were people we cared about and who had been with the series for years.

“Beyond that, we couldn’t afford to build any major new sets, except for Phoebe’s loft apartment, which wasn’t really that expensive. As a result, we had to come up with a story arc that would incorporate the exact same sets we’d always had. That became an even bigger challenge because the girls and Leo ‘died’ at the end of last year, so how do you have dead characters living in your existing sets without everyone else in the Charmed world asking, ‘What are they doing here? We thought they were dead.’ So there were several creative hurdles tied to the awesome budget constraints that greeted us as we started to plan out Season Eight. To top it off, because we didn’t find out until the middle of May 2005 that the series was being picked up, we didn’t have the luxury, as we’d had in the past, of thinking about where we would take the show for the following year.”

by Steven Eramo

Read the full interview in
TV Zone #202

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #202, see below for ordering options
TV Zone #202
June 2006
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