Ghostwriter (TV series)

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Ghostwriter (logo).jpg
Created byLiz Nealon
  • Gail "Sky" King
  • Peter Wetzler
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes74 (18 story arcs, with four episodes in each arc, except 1 and 5, where they have five episodes) (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Miranda Barry
Production location(s)Brooklyn, New York
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)
  • Children's Television Workshop (1992–1995)
  • BBC Television (1992–1994)
DistributorTradewinds Television
Original network
Original releaseOctober 4, 1992 (1992-10-04) –
February 12, 1995 (1995-02-12)
Followed byThe New Ghostwriter Mysteries
External links

Ghostwriter is an American children's mystery television series created by Liz Nealon and produced by the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) and BBC Television (episodes aired during BBC Two's Schools output). It began airing on PBS on October 4, 1992, and the final episode aired on February 12, 1995. The series revolves around a circle of friends from Brooklyn who solve neighborhood crimes and mysteries as a team of young detectives with the help of a ghost named Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter can communicate with the kids only by manipulating whatever text and letters he can find and using them to form words and sentences.[1] The series was filmed on location in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.


The series was designed to teach reading and writing skills to elementary and middle school children. Each mystery was presented as a case, covering four 30 minute episodes (except the first and fifth story arc, where there are five 30 minute episodes); children were encouraged to follow each mystery, and use the reading and writing clues given to attempt to solve them just as the Ghostwriter team does in the TV series.[3]

Ghostwriter was critically acclaimed and honored for presenting a realistic, racially diverse world in its two-hour mystery stories.[4] By the end of its third season, Ghostwriter ranked in the top five of all children's shows on American television.[citation needed] Ghostwriter has been broadcast in 24 countries worldwide, and generated a number of foreign-language adaptations, including a dubbed over version on Discovery Kids Latin America marketed as Fantasma Escritor.

Despite its popularity, the program was abruptly canceled after the third season due to inadequate funding. The original series was rerun from 1995 to 1999 on PBS. The UPN Kids block on UPN also ran reruns for a short time in 1997. Then, in 1999, it was syndicated on ABC for a short time. Later that year it moved to the network Noggin and The N, where it aired until 2003.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
134October 4, 1992May 16, 1993
228September 12, 1993April 24, 1994
SpecialSeptember 18, 1994 (1994-09-18)
312September 25, 1994February 12, 1995



Created as an integrated, branded, multi-media project, the Ghostwriter brand included magazines and teacher's guides, software (Microsoft), home video, games/licensed product, and other outreach materials that reached over a million children each month. There were many Ghostwriter novels released, both novelizations of the TV episodes and new stories. They were released by Bantam Books.

VHS releases[edit]

During the mid-1990s Ghostwriter was released on VHS by two different companies, which were GPN and Republic Pictures. They have the entire series except for the last two cases. These videos are in the original format, with each case divided into four or five episodes. Republic Pictures released only three cases: "Ghost Story", "Who Burned Mr. Brinker's Store?", and "Into the Comics". In Republic Pictures' version, the episodes for each case were edited together into a feature-length film.

DVD releases[edit]

Ghostwriter: Season One DVD cover art.

In February 2010, it was announced that Season 1 of Ghostwriter would be released on DVD by Shout! Factory. The five-disc set, running 870 minutes long, was released on June 8, 2010. Supplements are a trivia game and a casebook.[5][6] The entire series except for the last two story arcs were also released by GPN.[7]

DVD name Ep # Release date Special Features
Season One 34 June 8, 2010 Ghostwriter Trivia Game, Ghostwriter Casebook
Season Two 28 TBA
Season Three 12 TBA

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Writers Guild of America, USA, 1995
    • Won, WGA Award (TV) for Children's Script—Carin Greenberg Baker, for "Don't Stop The Music".
  • Young Artist Awards, 1993
    • Nominated, Outstanding Performers in a Children's Program: Todd Alexander, Blaze Berdahl, David López, Mayteana Morales, Tram-Anh Tran, Sheldon Turnipseed

The New Ghostwriter Mysteries[edit]

The New Ghostwriter Mysteries
The New Ghostwriter Mysteries.jpg
Created byLiz Nelson
StarringCharlotte Sullivan
Erica Luttrell
Kristian Ayre
Composer(s)Alex Khaskin
Country of originCanada
United States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producer(s)Naomi Janzen
Production location(s)Toronto, Ontario
CinematographyRhett Morita
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Decode Entertainment, Inc. (1997)
Children's Television Workshop (1997)
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 13 –
December 6, 1997 (1997-12-06)
Preceded byGhostwriter

In 1997, CBS aired a new version of the series, The New Ghostwriter Mysteries,[8] but it was canceled after one season due to low ratings. The new series had little in common with the original, changing Ghostwriter's on-screen appearance, introducing entirely new characters, and getting rid of the serial format of the original series.[9] The series was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and featured a new team of three kids: Camella Gorik (Charlotte Sullivan), Emilie Robeson (Erica Luttrell), and Henry "Strick" Strickland (Kristian Ayre). Ghostwriter only had two colors, which were silver and gold.

Ghostwriter's identity[edit]

Ghostwriter producer and writer Kermit Frazier revealed in a 2010 interview that Ghostwriter was the ghost of a runaway slave during the American Civil War. He taught other slaves how to read and write and was killed by slave catchers and their dogs. His soul was kept in the book that Jamal first discovered in the pilot episode, and when Jamal opened the book he was freed.[10]

Radio series[edit]

In the summer of 2006, BBC School Radio produced a radio series of Ghostwriter for primary school students. Character names from the TV series were retained, though voiced by new children. Music and the theme song were also kept, and a new musical jingle for children to recognize Ghostwriter's appearances was created by Sesame Workshop.


In September 2019, it was reported that a Ghostwriter reboot would air on Apple TV+, premiering on November 1, 2019.[11] The series is currently nominated for eight Daytime Emmy Awards.[12]


Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date [13]
"Ghost in Wonderland"Luke MathenyAndrew OrensteinNovember 1, 2019 (2019-11-01)
Four children have to come together after a strange ghost starts leaving them messages only they can see. Things get even weirder when a talking white rabbit starts running amok in school.
The children try to find the released Wonderland characters, convinced that doing so would satisfy the ghost that's been haunting them.
"The Jungle Ghost"Michael MohanLauren ThompsonNovember 1, 2019 (2019-11-01)
After the ghost asks for help on the bookstore's typewriter, the children find Mowgli and learn that they, too, can understand animals while he's near.
Mowgli has run away, along with all the dogs from the shelter. Finding him is the only way to return him to the book, along with learning what secret the stray cat Spinozi knows about Ruben's grandmother.
"The Wild, Wild Ghost"Aprill WinneyMark BlutmanNovember 1, 2019 (2019-11-01)
A strange cowboy called the Camarillo Kid has moseyed into town, and he's hiding from a mean cowboy known as Hitch.
Hitch is following the children to find the Camarillo Kid, but is he really the bad guy? Or is the Camarillo Kid really not that nice?
The kids discover that the characters escaped from a science fiction book instead of a classic western. Now that they have the book, they just need to track down the characters, and figure out what lock fits the mysterious key.
"A Sparkly Ghost"TBATBAMay 1, 2020 (2020-05-01)
"Franken-Ghost"TBATBAMay 1, 2020 (2020-05-01)


  1. ^ a b Bernstein, Sharon (September 12, 1992). "Fox to Premiere PBS' 'Ghostwriter'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  2. ^ Heffley, Lynne (October 3, 1992). "Words Add Substance to 'Ghostwriter'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  3. ^ Bernstein, Sharon (May 17, 1991). "Public TV: 'Ghostwriter' targets third- and fourth-graders, 40% of whom are said to lack basic reading skills. The series will debut in 1992". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ghostwriter Review | TV Reviews and News". January 15, 1993. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Ghostwriter: Season One : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". June 8, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "Ghostwriter Typed Up – IGN". Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  7. ^
  8. ^ King, Susan (August 31, 1997). "Educating and Entertaining". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  9. ^ King, Susan (August 31, 1997). "Educating and Entertaining". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  10. ^ Honan, Katie (May 6, 2010). "'Ghostwriter' Revisits Fort Greene Past". The New York Times. The Local (blog). Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  11. ^ Denise Petski (September 10, 2019). "'Ghostwriter': Reboot Of 1990s Kids Series Set At Apple TV+". Deadline. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Ghostwriter – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved November 4, 2019.

External links[edit]