TV Weekly cover: our exclusive interview with the cast of Hallmark's new series, Good Witch

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22 February 2015

By Kellie Freeze                      Good Witch premieres on Hallmark, Saturday, Feb. 28, 8:00 PM ET

Catherine Bell has starred in seven original movies as charming witch Cassandra “Cassie” Nightingale, and now continues that enchanting journey in a weekly “Good Witch” series, premiering Saturday on Hallmark Channel. Bell is excited to spend more time with, and put a fresh spin on, a character she loves.

“That’s been the most interesting part,” she says. “Finding the voice of this series. You want to make it so people are invested in the characters and want to tune in every week, while keeping — of course — the magic that everyone has grown accustomed to in the movies.”

When viewers last caught up with Cassie, her daughter Grace was an adorable moppet. Suddenly the tyke’s a teen, and in addition to dealing with normal 15-year-old things like cliques and boys, Grace learns that she shares her mother’s magical abilities. “She’s got her own perceptions and yet doesn’t totally know what to do with them,” says Bell. “Mom gets to jump in and help, and also help her find her own way.”

Playing the plum role of Cassie’s daughter is teen talent Bailee Madison, who dazzled audiences in Hallmark Channel’s holiday film “Northpole.” Bell gushes about her talented new costar, saying, “Bailee is a wonderful, sweet girl and such a talented actress!”

Also joining the cast is James Denton (“Desperate Housewives”) as Cassie’s new neighbor, Dr. Sam Radford. The divorced dad has moved to Middleton to become the town’s doctor and is a staunch believer in the power of Western medicine, a contrast to Cassie’s more Eastern sentiments. “The first few episodes, it’s pretty contentious,” says Denton. “He’s the town doctor, and nobody comes to him because they all go to Cassie’s store and get these herbal remedies, or some kind of — what he considers — ‘touchy-feely, crunchy-granola, non-medicinal’ remedy.”

Their conflicts reveal Cassie’s more emotional and vulnerable side. “They clash,” says Bell. “There are some moments where they are, ‘Arrrrr!’ — rubbing each other the wrong way, which you never saw in Cassie before. Cassie was always perfect and now there’s this guy who makes her say, ‘Argh!’”

Time will tell if Cassie’s relationship with Dr. Sam will stay like oil and water, or if they find a harmony that is like yin and yang, but Denton compares Cassie and Dr. Sam’s relationship to other famous enemies turned allies. “You can see the Sam and Diane or ‘Moonlighting’ relationship,” he says with a wink. “Will they? Won’t they?” We’ll just have to watch (and hope!) and find out.

Denton says that much of Cassie’s (and the show’s) appeal comes from Bell’s effervescent spirit. “Nobody else could play Cassie, because she has to be exactly what Catherine already is: really, really positive — and that’s tough to come by in this business — consistently in a good mood, ready to work, prepared and happy to be there.”

“I find myself inspired by Cassie a lot,” says Bell. “She focuses on what’s good and what’s right, and lets go of what’s not. We get more out of what we put our attention on in life, and if we put our attention on the good things, you do get more out of that.”
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