Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain have stepped down as executive producers on the CW drama pilot The Secret Circle, based on a three-book series from The Vampire Diaries author L.J. Smith. Under their Warner Bros TV overall deal, the Angel and Dollhouse alums last summer were assigned to supervise writer Andrew Miller in developing the project and serve as showrunners on the potential pilot/series. The project was set up at the CW in October. Then, in January, Kevin Williamson was brought in to rewrite Miller’s script. Williamson’s draft was picked up to pilot, with him serving as executive producer/showrunner.

Craft and Fain have a longstanding relationship with Williamson: they worked on his WB series Glory Days and currently serve as consulting producers on his CW series with Julie Plec The Vampire Diaries. But despite the three having a great shorthand, the feel was that there was duplication of showrunner duties and too many bosses on Secret Circle. Realizing that with Williamson on board, they were no longer needed as showrunners, Fain and Craft opted to move on and focus on development under their deal at WBTV in what was described as an amicable departure. Fain and Craft previously created/executive produced the ABC series Women’s Murder Club and served as showrunners on Dollhouse.

As for Secret Circle, which centers on a California teen (Britt Robertson) who moves to her mom’s hometown of New Salem and discovers that she is a witch, Williamson and Miller are exec producing the pilot with Alloy’s Leslie Morgenstein and Gina Girolamo. If it goes to series, Plec could come on board, with her and Williamson possibly juggling showrunner duties on Circle and Vampire Diaries next season.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.