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Wizards of Waverly Place is an American Disney Channel Original Series which ran from October 12, 2007 to January 6, 2012 on Disney Channel. The series was created by Todd J. Greenwald, and stars Selena Gomez, David Henrie and Jake T. Austin as three wizard siblings with magical abilities competing to win sole custody of the family powers. Further main cast includes Jennifer Stone, María Canals Barrera and David DeLuise. The series won "Outstanding Children's Program" at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in 2009. A film adaptation of the series, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, premiered as a Disney Channel Original Movie on August 28, 2009. The film adaptation won "Outstanding Children's Program" at the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards earning the series its second consecutive Emmy. The farewell season won "Outstanding Children's Program" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards bringing the franchise's total to three Emmy awards. Wizards of Waverly Place ended as the longest-running Disney Channel Original Series (surpassing That's So Raven) with 106 episodes over four seasons. Its series finale averaged nearly 10 million viewers (live+same day), which made that episode the most-watched series finale in Disney Channel's history. On September 27, 2012, Disney Channel announced that Wizards of Waverly Place will be returning in 2013 for a special one-hour television event, which began production on October 22, 2012, and ended production on November 10, 2012.

Premise

Wizards of Waverly Place chronicles the adventures of the Italian-Mexican Russo Family. The Russos live on Waverly Place in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, above a sub shop which they own and run. The family consists of siblings Alexandra "Alex" (Selena Gomez), Justin (David Henrie), and Maximillian "Max" (Jake T. Austin). The three teenagers are wizards and live with their Italian father, Jerry (David DeLuise), a former family wizard, and their mortal Mexican mother, Theresa (Maria Canals Barrera). When the Russo siblings complete their wizard training, they are to participate in a competition to decide who will become the Family Wizard (the one to keep his/her magical powers forever) of their generation, while the others lose their powers and become mortals. Because of this, Jerry tries to teach his children to not become dependent on magic. Since one of them gets to keep their powers, though, Jerry also gives his children wizard lessons (the lessons end mid Season four). The storage room of the Russo family's sub station is a wizard's lair. In the lair is a Portal which allows them to visit the wizard world, and other creatures to visit them. The headmaster of the wizard council, Professor Crumbs (Ian Abercrombie), regularly pays visits to the Russo home.

The Russo siblings attend Tribeca Prep and constantly encounter their Old West style principal, Mr. Laritate (Bill Chott). Because they live in the mortal world, the Russos are required to keep the existence of wizardry a secret. Even so, Alex's best friend, Harper Finkle (Jennifer Stone), discovers the secret in Season 2's episode "Harper Knows". Justin's best friend, Zeke Beakerman (Dan Benson), also finds out in Season 4's episode "Zeke Finds Out", also along with Alex's boyfriend, Mason Greyback (Gregg Sulkin).

Production

This series was created and as produced by Todd J. Greenwald, who began developing the show after working as a writer and consulting producer during the first season of Hannah Montana. The show is produced by It's a Laugh Productions and Disney Channel Original Productions. The theme song, "Everything Is Not What It Seems", written by John Adair and Steve Hampton, is of techno-pop style and is performed by Selena Gomez. The series is filmed at Hollywood Center Studios in Hollywood, California.

Opening sequence

For the first three seasons the show used the same title sequence, the opening title sequence, which is set to Selena Gomez's rendition of "Everything Is Not What It Seems", shows Alex, Justin, Max and Harper engaging in magical antics while preparing for school in the morning. The fourth season began using a slightly altered version of the song, and a different sequence involving the cast, who all appear in Times Square at the end of the sequence with Alex waving her wand.

Reception

The show debuted on Disney Channel on October 12, 2007 after the premiere of Twitches Too, gathering 5.9 million viewers. In January 2010, "Wizards vs. Werewolves" one-hour special episode became the series' most-watched (non-crossover) episode with 6.2 million viewers, surpassing the 6 million viewers of "Paint By Committee" episode The series' most watched episode, including crossovers, was "Cast-Away (To Another Show)" episode, which was included in the special trilogy of crossover episodes between three Disney Channel original sitcoms, Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana. The broadcast was watched by 10.6 million viewers. In 2009, the series was the top scripted telecast for teens between the age of 9–14 (1.63 million/6.7 rating) and second in kids 6–11 (1.81 million/7.4 rating), which was only slightly behind The Suite Life on Deck (1.82 million/7.4 rating.)

Episodes

Main article: List of Wizards of Waverly Place episodes
Season Episodes Originally aired (U.S. dates)
Season premiere Season finale
1 21 October 12, 2007 August 31, 2008
2 30 September 12, 2008 August 21, 2009
Film August 28, 2009
3 28 October 9, 2009 October 15, 2010
4 27 November 12, 2010 January 6, 2012
Special March 15, 2013

Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

Main article: Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

The Disney Channel Original Movie, based on the series, premiered on August 28, 2009 on Disney Channel. Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie was filmed in Puerto Rico in the caribe Hilton hotel, Los Angeles, and New York City from February 16 to March 27, 2009. The movie received 11.4 million viewers on its premiere, making it the second-most-viewed DCOM premiere in the US after High School Musical 2. It was the 7th most watched basic cable telecast in 2009. It won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2010 for "Outstanding Children's Program".

Series finale

On Friday, January 6, 2012, Wizards of Waverly Place aired its one-hour series finale, "Who Will Be The Family Wizard?", which averaged nearly 10 million viewers (9.8 million; live+same day) to up to 11.3 million. Although it was not the series' most-watched special, being behind Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, and Cast Away (To Another Show), it was the most-watched finale for a Disney Channel Original Series. Excluding the crossover programming special, it was the franchise's most-watched episode. The closer also set series best among kids 6–11 (4.2 million) and teens 9–14 (3.8 million). It also obtained a solid 1.9 rating with adults 18–49. Notably, the finale is the current TV season's most-watched cable telecast among scripted programs. The show ended with Alex becoming the family wizard, Justin being declared new Headmaster of WizTech (also keeping his wizard powers), and Max getting to run the sub shop. Max is very happy with his position.

The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex

On September 27, 2012, Disney Channel announced that Wizards of Waverly Place would return for an hour-long special, that began production on October 22, 2012, and ended production on November 10, 2012, for a premiere telecast on the cable channel in early 2013. The special, executive produced by Selena Gomez, alongside series executive producers Vince Cheung and Ben Montanio (who also co-wrote the special with Dan Berendsen), will center on the Russos' and Mason's visit to Tuscany to meet long-lost relatives from Jerry's side of the family. In an attempt to prove to her family that she's no merely a carefree wizard, Alex inadvertently casts a spell that creates two versions of her with differing personalities: an evil version of Alex that ends up involved in another wizard's plan for world domination, and a good version who upon discovering the wizard's plan, tries to find a way to save her family and mankind, leading to a literal battle between good and evil atop the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The film is titled The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex. It will premiere on Friday March 15, 2013 at 8/7c

Cast

Main article: List of Wizards of Waverly Place characters

Wizards of Waverly Place Season 4

The fourth season main cast (L-R):
María Canals Barrera as Theresa Russo,
David DeLuise as Jerry Russo,
Jake T. Austin as Max Russo,
Selena Gomez as Alex Russo,
David Henrie as Justin Russo, and
Jennifer Stone as Harper Finkle.

Main

  • Selena Gomez as Alex Russo
  • David Henrie as Justin Russo
  • Jake T. Austin as Max Russo
  • Jennifer Stone as Harper Finkle
  • María Canals Barrera as Theresa Russo
  • David DeLuise as Jerry Russo

Recurring

  • Ian Abercrombie as Professor Crumbs
  • Gregg Sulkin as Mason Greyback (seasons 3–4)
  • Dan Benson as Ezekiel "Zeke" Beakerman
  • Bill Chott as Mr. Hershel Laritate
  • Moisés Arias as Conscience (season 3)
  • Jeff Garlin as Uncle Kelbo (seasons 1–3)
  • Lucy Hale as Miranda Hampson (season 1)
  • Andy Kindler as Chancellor Rudy Tootietootie (seasons 3–4)
  • Hayley Kiyoko as Stevie Nichols (season 3)
  • Paulie Litt as Frankie/Joey (seasons 1, 3)
  • Kari Wahlgren as Helen (season 4)
  • Bailee Madison as Maxine Russo (season 4)
  • Bridgit Mendler as Juliet van Heusen (seasons 2–4)
  • Frank Pacheco as Felix (season 4)
  • Leven Rambin as Rosie (season 4)
  • John Rubinstein as Gorog (season 4)
  • Daniel Samonas as Dean Moriarty (seasons 2, 4)
  • Skyler Samuels as Gertrude "Gigi" Hollingsworth (seasons 1–2)
  • Fred Stoller as Dexter (season 4)
  • Josh Sussman as Hugh Normous (seasons 1–2, 4)
  • Amanda Tepe as Monotone Lady (seasons 1–2)
  • Cameron Sanders as Nelvis (season 4)
  • McKaley Miller as Talia Robinson (season 4)
  • China Anne McClain as Tina (season 4)
  • Bella Thorne as Nancy Lukey (season 3)

Merchandise

Soundtrack

Main article: Wizards of Waverly Place (soundtrack)

The soundtrack album for the hit Disney Channel Original Series of the same name. The album was released as a physical CD, enhanced CD and digital on August 4, 2009, under Walt Disney Records. The album includes songs from and inspired by the TV series and Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie. In response to the soundtrack, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic recognized Wizards for its "teen revamps of boomer classics that parents can enjoy too". He also stated that the album is "agreeable" and that Selena Gomez "inevitably stands out from the pack". However, Erlewine said: "the dang-awful version of America's "You Can Do Magic" by Drew Seeley is sunk by its hyper-claustrophobic rhythms, the biggest rearrangement of a tune here and easily the worst cut."

Video game

Wizards of Waverly Place is a video game published by Disney Interactive Studios for the Nintendo DS. It was released on August 25, 2009 in America and on August 28, 2009 in Europe and in Australia on September 21, 2009. It is based upon the Disney Channel Original Series Wizards of Waverly Place. The game is based on many of the sets used in the TV show. The game is about Alex buying a bracelet that is for adult wizards and starts freezing people. A second video game called Wizards of Waverly Place: Spellbound was released on November 16, 2010. The game is about finding out what happened to a dress designed by Alex Russo that goes missing just before her big fashion show.

DVD releases

Compilations

Name Episodes Region 1 Region 2 DVD extras
Wizards of Waverly Place: Wizard School Wizard School Part 1, Wizard School Part 2, Curb Your Dragon, Disenchanted Evening July 29, 2008 TBA Work It Like a Wizard – Selena,Sonny, Jake and David's favorite things to do.
Wizards of Waverly Place: Supernaturally Stylin' Credit Check, Smarty Pants, Beware Wolf, Graphic Novel February 10, 2009 TBA Fashionista Presto Chango! – Go behind the scenes with the stars for some wardrobe magic!
Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana Cast-Away (To Another Show)]] (Wizards), "Double Crossed" (Suite Life), Super(stitious) Girl" (Hannah Montana) September 22, 2009 TBA Justin's Award Winning Essay – It's A Suite Life Having Fun With Hannah & The Wizards
The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex – Extended Edition Full-Length TV Movie June 25, 2013 TBA Alternate Ending, Cast Goodbyes

Season releases

Name Episodes Region 2 Region 4 DVD extras
Season 1: Volume 1: Work It Like a Wizard Crazy 10-Minutes Sale, First Kiss, I Almost Drowned in a Chocolate Fountain, New Employee, Disenchanted Evening, You Can't Always Get What You Carpet, Alex's Choice October 5, 2009 March 3, 2010 Work It Like a Wizard – Selena, Jake and David's favorite things to do.
Season 1: Volume 2: Magic Training Curb Your Dragon, Movies, Pop Me and We Both Go Down, Potion Commotion, Justin's Little Sister, Wizard School Part 1, Wizard School Part 2 October 5, 2009 June 2, 2010 Casting A Spell
Season 1: Volume 3: Stylin' Powers The Supernatural, Alex in the Middle, Report Card, Credit Check, Alex's Spring Fling, Quinceanera, Art Museum Piece October 5, 2009 August 2010 Fashionista Presto Chango! – Go behind the scenes with the stars for some wardrobe magic!

The show's complete first season was released on September 10, 2009 in Germany, on October 1, 2009 in Spain, on March 3, 2010 in France and on March 12, 2010 in Poland.

External links

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