Charmed is an American television program that aired for eight seasons on the WB Network from October, 1998 to May of 2006. The series was created in 1998 by writer Constance M. Burge and was produced by Aaron Spelling and his Spelling Television company, with the show runner being writer-director Brad Kern. The series narrative followed the four Halliwell sisters, Prue, Piper, Phoebe and, later, Paige, the culmination of the long Warren line of powerful, good witches. The sisters, despite being perceived as normal by the non-supernatural community, were known as The Charmed Ones in the magical community, whose prophesied destiny was to battle against evil beings, such as demons and warlocks and to protect innocent lives from being endangered. Each sister possessed unique magical powers that grew and evolved, while they attempted to hold normal working lives in San Francisco, California. Keeping their paranormal identities separate and secret from their ordinary lives formed part of the series' tension and challenges, with the exposure of magic having far-reaching consequences on relationships, and having resulted in a number of police and FBI investigations throughout the run of the series.
In 1998, the Warner Brothers Television Network began searching for a drama series, and looked to Spelling Television, which had produced the network's most successful series 7th Heaven, to create it. Expanding on the popularity of supernatural themed dramas, the production company explored forms of mythology to find mythological characters they could realize with contemporary storytelling. In order to create the series, Burge was hired as the creator as she was under contract with Spelling Television after conceiving the drama Savannah. When the theme of witchcraft was first pitched to her, she was aware of stereotypes of witches (flying brooms, black cats, and warts). After Wicca research, she changed her perspective and aimed at telling a story of good witches who looked and acted like ordinary people. With this, her initial concept was a series set in Boston, Massachusetts about three friends and roommates who were all witches. However, executive producer E. Duke Vincent lacked confidence, asking "Why would anybody want to watch a show about three witches?" He proposed that the series focus on family values and developed the series-long mantra of it being about "three sisters who happen to be witches, not three witches who happen to be sisters." Spelling warmed to Burge's ideas and, after the concept was re-crafted to be a series about three sisters (now living in San Francisco) descended from a line of witches, it was pitched to the Warner Brothers's Susanne Daniels, who liked it, allowing the series to begin development.
Shannen Doherty, having worked with Spelling on Beverly Hills 90210, auditioned for the role of Piper Halliwell but won the role of Prue Halliwell. After the third season, Doherty left the series. As of January 30th, 2010 it is still unclear whether she left the series because of differences with executive producer Brad Kern, wanting to branch out to new things, or was fired.
Doherty's best friend, Holly Marie Combs, known as Kimberly Brock from the series Picket Fences, became interested in the script and won the role of middle sister Piper Halliwell, although she auditioned for the role of Prue Halliwell.
The series was titled Charmed after Spelling's suggestion of House of Sisters was dropped, and the three lead roles were cast to Doherty, Combs, and Lori Rom. Burge wrote the pilot's script. They filmed a 28-minute version (the "unaired pilot", never aired on network television) with which the series was picked up by the WB. The majority of the pilot had to be re-filmed after Rom quit and Alyssa Milano took her role.
Upon its debut, Charmed received the largest audience for a series premiere in the network’s history. The first season of twenty-two episodes was picked up by Warner Brothers after two shows aired.
Prudence Halliwell, commonly referred to as "Prue" was the firstborn child of Patty Halliwell, a witch, and Victor Bennett, a mortal. She is the older sister of Piper and Phoebe, and half-sister of Paige Matthews. Prue's birth power was telekinesis, which allowed her to move objects with her mind.
Piper was originally the middle sister of the Charmed Ones, later becoming the eldest sister after her elder sister Prue died. She is the most kind, caring, and maternal of the four sisters but can also be very sarcastic and quick-witted, a trait likely acquired from years of looking up to Prue. She was also the voice of reason between Prue and Phoebe, the most devastated upon Prue's death, and the first magical mentor of Paige Matthews upon discovering the latter's place in her family.
Phoebe originally began as the youngest of the Charmed Ones, the oldest being Prudence Halliwell, and the middle sister being Piper Halliwell. After Prue's death and discovering that she had a younger half-sister, Paige Matthews, Phoebe became the middle sister and has since adjusted to her role as mediator between her sisters.
Paige is the most emotional of the four sisters and like Phoebe during the early seasons, she is spunky and sassy. Paige often fights with Piper in the early seasons when learning the Craft but later, Piper accepts Paige as her sister and gives her potion-lessons. Paige is married to a mortal cop named Henry Mitchell and she is the mother of Henry Mitchell, Jr. and twin daughters.