The show centers on the Russo family, which includes Alex (Selena Gomez), her older brother Justin (David Henrie), and their younger brother Max (Jake T. Austin); Alex's best friend Harper (Jennifer Stone) is also part of the storyline. The three Russo siblings are wizards and live with their Italian-American father Jerry (David DeLuise), who himself is a former wizard, and their Mexican American mother, Theresa (Maria Canals Barrera) who is a mortal.
The children are not allowed to use magic without supervision, and only one of the three will keep their magic abilities once they are adults; this will be determined by a magic competition. Their father Jerry once did this competition and won, but gave his powers to his brother in order to marry his mortal wife Theresa, because a wizard is not allowed to marry a mortal. Alex often gets into trouble for using magic unsupervised. Justin always makes sure Alex does not get into any more trouble than she's already in. Along the way, all of the kids learn moral lessons relating to friends, family, and school.
The series was created and is executive produced by Todd J. Greenwald, who began developing the show, after working as a writer and consulting producer during the first season Hannah Montana . The show is produced by It's a Laugh Productions and Disney Channel Original Productions. The theme song, written by John Adair and Steve Hampton, is of techno-pop style and is performed by Selena Gomez.
- Selena Gomez - Alex Russo: a wizard in training, the middle child and only daughter in the Russo family
- David Henrie - Justin Russo: a wizard in training, the oldest child in the Russo family
- Jake T. Austin - Max Russo: a wizard in training, the youngest child in the Russo family
- David DeLuise - Jerry Russo: Justin, Alex, and Max's father and former wizard, who teaches his children about magic
- Maria Canals-Barrera - Theresa Russo: Jerry's wife and Justin, Alex, and Max's mother. She isn't a wizard, but knows about the magical world and power of her children
- Jennifer Stone - Harsichord "Harper" Finkle: Alex's best friend who becomes aware of the Russo's wizard powers after Alex tells her in the second season. She moves in with the Russo family in the third season.