Bell, Denton and Madison Charm In Hallmark’s Good Witch.

GoodWitch-10Catherine Bell has starred in seven original movies as charming witch Cassandra “Cassie” Nightingale, and now she is thrilled to continue that enchanting journey in a weekly Good Witch series, premiering in a 2-hour special 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.”

Bailee Madison as Grace Nightengale
Bailee Madison as Grace Nightingale

New for the series are a few new faces. 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 wunderkind Bailee Madison. The teen talent dazzled audiences in Hallmark Channel’s holiday film Northpole, and Bell gushes about her talented new costar, saying, “Bailee is a wonderful, sweet girl and such a talented actress!”


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The guys next door: Rhys Matthew Bond as Nick Radford and James Denton as Dr. Sam Radford.

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 physician. “I moved my son out of New York; we moved out of the city because my son was a big discipline problem,” explains Denton. “I had to get him out of the city and get him out in a small-town environment; a little better place to raise him and get him away from some bad kids. So he hates me for moving him, so lots of father-son conflict there.”

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James Denton as Dr. Sam Radford in the Middletown Medical Clinic.

Denton’s doctor 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, ‘Aaaahhhhh!’”

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.

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Denton prepares to shoot a Good Witch scene

Despite their characters’ challenging relationship, Denton is enamored with his costar Bell. “I’ve worked with a lot of people in TV, and my background is in the theater,” says Denton. “But wow, to get on set with her — just the way she listens and the way she responds organically. She’s an amazing actor.” He 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.”

GoodWitch_8For the actress, the chance to show the imperfect side of her formerly unflappable character is a fun new challenge. “Just yesterday, I did this scene that I was just loving because I got to show a different side of Cassie, more emotional, more vulnerable. She’s not a perfect person.” Cassie may no longer be seemingly perfect, but with her magical ways, she still charms and changes the lives of those she meets and after playing  whimsical and charming Cassie for a multitude of movies, Bell still learns from her character. “I find myself inspired by Cassie a lot,” she says. “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.”

Good Witch > Hallmark Channel > Saturdays beginning Feb. 28

Photo Credit: Copyright 2014 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Brooke Palmer