Ghostwriter (TV series)
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. The series was filmed on location in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
|Created by||Liz Nealon|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||74 (18 story arcs, with four episodes in each arc, except 1 and 5, where they have five episodes) (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Brooklyn, New York|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||October 4, 1992 –|
February 12, 1995
|Followed by||The New Ghostwriter Mysteries|
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.
Ghostwriter was critically acclaimed and honored for presenting a realistic, racially diverse world in its two-hour mystery stories. By the end of its third season, Ghostwriter ranked in the top five of all children's shows on American television. 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.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||34||October 4, 1992||May 16, 1993|
|2||28||September 12, 1993||April 24, 1994|
|Special||September 18, 1994|
|3||12||September 25, 1994||February 12, 1995|
- Sheldon Turnipseed as Jamal Jenkins
- Blaze Berdahl as Lenni Frazier
- David López as Alex Fernández
- Mayteana Morales as Gaby Fernández (1992–1994)
- Tram-Anh Tran as Tina Nguyen
- Todd Alexander Cohen as Rob Baker (1992–1993)
- William Hernandez as Héctor Carrero (1993–1995)
- Melissa González as Gaby Fernández (1994–1995)
- Lateaka Vinson as Casey Austin (1994–1995)
- Marcella Lowery as CeCe Jenkins
- Samuel L. Jackson as Jamal's Dad
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.
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.
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. The entire series except for the last two story arcs were also released by GPN.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date||Special Features|
|Season One||34||June 8, 2010||Ghostwriter Trivia Game, Ghostwriter Casebook|
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 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 MysteriesEdit
|The New Ghostwriter Mysteries|
|Created by||Liz Nelson|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Naomi Janzen|
|Production location(s)||Toronto, Ontario|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Decode Entertainment, Inc. (1997)|
Children's Television Workshop (1997)
|Original release||September 13 –|
December 6, 1997
In 1997, CBS aired a new version of the series, The New Ghostwriter Mysteries, 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. 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 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.
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.
Season 1 (2019)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|"Ghost in Wonderland"||Luke Matheny||Andrew Orenstein||November 1, 2019|
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 Mohan||Lauren Thompson||November 1, 2019|
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 Winney||Mark Blutman||November 1, 2019|
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"||TBA||TBA||May 1, 2020|
|"Franken-Ghost"||TBA||TBA||May 1, 2020|
- Bernstein, Sharon (September 12, 1992). "Fox to Premiere PBS' 'Ghostwriter'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- Heffley, Lynne (October 3, 1992). "Words Add Substance to 'Ghostwriter'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- 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.
- "Ghostwriter Review | TV Reviews and News". EW.com. January 15, 1993. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- "Ghostwriter: Season One : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. June 8, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
- "Ghostwriter Typed Up – IGN". Dvd.ign.com. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
- King, Susan (August 31, 1997). "Educating and Entertaining". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- King, Susan (August 31, 1997). "Educating and Entertaining". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- 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.
- Denise Petski (September 10, 2019). "'Ghostwriter': Reboot Of 1990s Kids Series Set At Apple TV+". Deadline. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
- "Ghostwriter – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
- Ghostwriter – official site
- Ghostwriter on IMDb
- Ghostwriter at TV.com
- Ghostwriter at epguides.com
- The New Ghostwriter Mysteries on IMDb
- The New Ghostwriter Mysteries at TV.com
- The New Ghostwriter Mysteries at epguides.com
- BBC School Radio: Ghostwriter[permanent dead link]
- Announcement at TV Shows on DVD website – Ghostwriter: Season 1 on DVD
- Official site for Ghostwriter DVD
- Analysis in The Atlantic