If you asked Gen X kids of the seventies and eighties to name their top five TV programs from the sixties that they grew up watching, it’s a good bet that Bewitched would be one of the top picks. The show debuted on ABC in 1964 and stayed on prime time until 1972. After the show left the network, it became a staple of afternoon syndicated TV on stations all across the country. It continues to live on cable and nostalgia channels to this day.
Bewitched featured a suburban couple comprised of a modern-day Witch and her mortal husband who worked in advertising. In the third season in 1966, a daughter Tabitha came along and was followed in 1969 by her brother Adam. Both kids had the same powers as their mom.
The show’s success in syndication was probably the reason why ABC aired a spinoff show, Tabitha, in 1977. A pilot was produced in 1976 but was not picked up by the network. Another pilot was produced the following year, this time with a new Tabitha and this version was picked up for the 1977-1978 season.
Tabitha from Bewitched would have been eleven in 1977, however, in the new show, she was a twenty-something production assistant at a TV station in Los Angeles. Another way the show strayed from the original was that Adam was older than his sister and he was a mortal. Tabitha also featured a character named Aunt Minerva, who was not a part of the original show.
Tabitha was portrayed by Erin Murphy on the originals show and by Lisa Hartman on the spinoff. Hartman went on to greater fame as a cast member of Knotts Landing in the eighties. She also had a #1 song on the Country chart in 1999 with When I Said I Do, a duet with her husband, Clint Black. The show also featured Robert Urich as Tabitha’s love interest. A year later he would have the leading role on Vega$, which was also on ABC.
The pilot aired in May of 1977. The series made it debut on Sept 10 but the second episode did not air until November. It was then regularly airing on Saturday nights and getting good ratings at first, but then started to go down and got even worse by the time the show moved to Friday nights. The show was canceled and reruns aired up until August of 78.