Free Spirit (TV series)

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Free Spirit
Free spirit usa show sneak preview ad.jpg
Sneak preview TV Guide advertisement
GenreFantasy sitcom
Created byLeslie Ray
Steven Vail
Developed byTim O'Donnell
Written byKevin Abbott
Phil Doran
Mark Fink
Howard Meyers
Susan Meyers
Bob Rosenfarb
Directed byArt Dielhenn
StarringCorinne Bohrer
Franc Luz
Paul Scherrer
Alyson Hannigan
Edan Gross
Theme music composerSteve Dorff
John Bettis
Opening theme"She's a Free Spirit"
Composer(s)David Michael Frank
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes14 (1 unaired)
Executive producer(s)Phil Doran
Richard Gurman
Producer(s)Mark Fink
Howard Meyers
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time24 mins
Production company(s)ELP Communications
Columbia Pictures Television
DistributorSony Pictures Television (2002-present)
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 22, 1989 (1989-09-22) –
January 14, 1990 (1990-01-14)

Free Spirit is an American fantasy sitcom that aired on ABC during the 1989–1990 television season. The series stars Corinne Bohrer as a witch who moves in with a recently divorced father to help care for his three children. Originally produced by ELP Communications, Free Spirit aired from September 22, 1989, to January 14, 1990.


Free Spirit follows the misadventures of a mischievous and vivacious witch named Winnie Goodwinn (Corinne Bohrer) who is summoned by 10-year-old Gene (Edan Gross) with a wish, and is subsequently hired as a live-in housekeeper by Gene's father Thomas J. Harper (Franc Luz), a recently divorced lawyer. Winnie looks after Thomas' three children, Gene, 13-year-old Jessie (Alyson Hannigan) and 16-year-old Robb (Paul Scherrer) who are still adjusting to their parents' divorce and their move from New York City to suburban Connecticut.

Thomas has no idea that Winnie is a witch, but his three children do. Although Winnie is good-hearted and never means any harm, her powers frequently get her and the family into trouble. Winnie often has to scramble to get out of various situations while keeping Thomas from learning her secret.



Guest stars[edit]



In the unaired pilot, Christopher Rich portrayed the role of Thomas Harper and Shonda Whipple portrayed Jessie Harper. Since the show was originally conceived as a vehicle for Edan Gross and Corinne Bohrer, producers felt that Rich and Whipple were replaceable. Only the second version of the pilot aired with Franc Luz and Alyson Hannigan in their respective roles.[1]

Broadcast history[edit]

Free Spirit premiered as a preview broadcast on September 22, 1989, at 9:30/8:30c, on the first night in which ABC's Friday lineup used the now-popular TGIF format. On September 24, the series moved into its regular time slot of Sunday at 8/7c, airing between two other freshman series, Life Goes On and Homeroom.[2]


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Pilot"Art DielhennLeslie RaySeptember 22, 1989 (1989-09-22)
A lawyer hires an inept witch to be a housekeeper for his three children, only to have the kids find out the truth about her.
2"The Bosses Are Coming"Art DielhennHoward Meyers & Susan MeyersSeptember 24, 1989 (1989-09-24)
Using the guise of Thomas' clients, Winnie's boss wants to take her back to the Witches' Realm, prompting Winnie to make a deal to remain in the mortal world.
3"Wedding Bell Blues"Art DielhennRichard Gurman & Phil DoranOctober 1, 1989 (1989-10-01)
After Thomas' date backs out of a wedding invitation, he asks Winnie to go with him to the event, but she might want to check her attire before going.
4"Too Much of a Good Thing"Art DielhennKevin AbbottOctober 8, 1989 (1989-10-08)
After Winnie casts a love spell on a girl that Robb has the hots for, Robb learns that he is the only one who can break the spell.
5"Guess Who's Staying for Dinner?"Art DielhennMark FinkOctober 22, 1989 (1989-10-22)
A sexy client, whose 80-year-old husband has died, wants to be Thomas' next wife, prompting a jealous Winnie to find out the real reason behind this sudden proposal.
6"Hallowinnie"Art DielhennBob RosenfarbOctober 29, 1989 (1989-10-29)
Jessie is hoping that she will join a clique on Halloween, an event Winnie despises. But when Thomas suggests that Jessie throw a party for the group, Winnie reluctantly gives in by performing a magic trick on Jessie, which comes in handy at the party as she finds out the group's true intentions.
7"Two for the Road"Art DielhennMark FinkNovember 5, 1989 (1989-11-05)
After Thomas buys a convertible for Robb and Winnie to share, it's an excited Winnie who really gets behind the wheel and a furious Robb ready to take the keys away from her.
8"Not with My Sister You Don't"Art DielhennApril KellyNovember 19, 1989 (1989-11-19)
Winnie becomes concerned about Jessie's date in more ways than one.
9"Love That Winnie"Art DielhennBob RosenfarbDecember 3, 1989 (1989-12-03)
Winnie imagines herself in an episode of The Donna Reed Show as a way to be the perfect homemaker, but she's about to discover that being one in real life is not like a TV show.
10"The New Secretary"Art DielhennMartin Pasko & Rebecca Parr CioffiDecember 10, 1989 (1989-12-10)
Winnie is hired as Thomas' secretary and gets involved with a divorced couple (Florence Henderson and Robert Reed), who still have feelings for each other.
11"Radio Nights"Art DielhennHoward Meyers & Susan MeyersDecember 17, 1989 (1989-12-17)
Thomas is left stranded at a radio station after a thunderstorm causes a tree to fall and block off a bridge. The storm also strip Winnie of her powers, while Gene fears that he will not see his father again.
12"We Gotta Be Me"Art DielhennKevin AbbottJanuary 7, 1990 (1990-01-07)
In an effort to stop his annoying behavior, Jessie and Gene asks Winnie to split Robb into two guys... and they still get more annoyed by the results.
13"Blast from the Past"Art DielhennEllen GuylasJanuary 14, 1990 (1990-01-14)
After a courtship that spans 150 years, Winnie's warlock fiancee Kevin (Dave Coulier) finally asks her to marry him.
14"Love and Death"Phil SquyersPhil DoranUNAIRED
When Winnie's kid sister Cassandra (Josie Davis) visits, she sweeps Robb off his feet, prompting Winnie to dust off this spirited romance.

Reception and cancellation[edit]

Critical reviews of Free Spirit were generally negative. In a poll conducted by Electronic Media, television critics voted it the worst show on television.[3] In addition to poor critical reception, the series struggled in the ratings. After ratings failed to improve, ABC canceled Free Spirit in January 1990.[4] The last episode of the fourteen produced was never aired in the U.S..

Awards nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee
1990 Young Artist Awards Best New Television Series
1990 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series Alyson Hannigan
1990 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Supporting Role in a Television Series Paul Scherrer


  1. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1997). Experimental Television, Test Films, Pilots, and Trial Series, 1925 Through 1995: Seven Decades Of Small Screen Almosts. McFarland. p. 192. ISBN 0-786-40178-8.
  2. ^ Zuckerman, Faye (September 22, 1989). "ABC offers another loser". Star-News. p. 5D. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  3. ^ Weiskind, Ron (December 6, 1989). "ABC cans 'Homeroom' and 'Dolls'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 33. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  4. ^ "'Free Spirit' show is short-lived". Rome News-Tribune. August 10, 1990. Retrieved February 5, 2013.

External links[edit]