10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Baby-Sitters Club' Reboot Lands at Netflix
Netflix is heading to the club.
The streamer, which continues its aggressive spending spree, has handed out a straight-to-series order for a contemporary take on Ann M. Martin's worldwide best-selling book franchise, The Baby-Sitters Club.
Described as a family-friendly adaptation, the 10-episode dramedy will be executive produced by former New Line Cinema and DreamWorks president of production Michael De Luca (The Social Network). Author Martin will produce. Rachel Shukert (Netflix's Jenji Kohan favorite GLOW) will serve as showrunner. Broad City's Lucia Aniello will also exec produce and direct. Walden Media, which owns the rights to the book series, will produce the half-hour series. De Luca and Walden Media's Naia Cucukov took out the modern take of female friendship, entrepreneurialism and empowerment in May. Aniello will produce via her Paulilu Productions banner. The series will tackle themes around divorce, racism and belonging in a series geared for kids, teens and adults. The franchise was hailed by The New Yorker in a 2016 essay as "feminist legacy."
"The themes of The Baby-Sitters Club still resonate 30 years after the original book series was released, and there has never been a more opportune time to tell an aspirational story about empowering young female entrepreneurs," said Melissa Cobb, vp kids and family at Netflix. "Together with Ann M. Martin and the team at Walden Media, our ambition is to contemporize the storylines and adventures of this iconic group of girlfriends to reflect modern-day issues."
Martin's series about female friendship — original characters Kristy Thomas, Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi, Stacey McGill and Dawn Schafer will still be in Stoneybrook, Connecticut, for Netflix — has featured more than 200 books licensed in more than 20 territories and has sold over 180 million copies to date. First published in 1986, Martin wrote 35 Baby-Sitters Club novels, with others later taking over the series.
"I'm amazed that there are so many passionate fans of The Baby-Sitters Club after all these years, and I'm honored to continue to hear from readers — now grown, who have become writers, editors, teachers, librarians, filmmakers — who say that they see a reflection of themselves in the characters of Kristy and her friends. So I'm very excited about the forthcoming series on Netflix, which I hope will inspire a new generation of readers and leaders everywhere," Martin said.
Baby-Sitters Club was previously adapted for television in 1990, where it ran for one season (13 episodes) on HBO. The comedy had a second life in syndication on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. Baby-Sitters Club later was adapted as a feature film in 1995, starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Larisa Oleynik and Schuyler Fisk, among others.
"For generations, young people have been captivated and inspired by the enterprising young women of The Baby-Sitters Club," Walden Media CEO Frank Smith said. "Bringing this iconic series to life comes at a pivotal moment in Walden's expansion into scripted televised content. We are honored to be part of this special collaboration with Ann M. Martin, Netflix and Michael De Luca."
De Luca Productions' Lucy Kitada will also exec produce for the company, which earned a Producers Guild Award nomination for Ben Stiller's Emmy player Escape at Dannemora. De Luca also earned Emmy nominations for producing the 89th and 90th Academy Awards (the latter of which featured Envelope-gate).
"The entire team at Michael De Luca Productions is ecstatic to be working with Netflix and Walden Media to bring Ann M. Martin's best-selling book series to a global audience," De Luca and Kitada said in a joint statement. "These iconic books have sold more than 180 million copies to date and now, through Netflix, they will be brought to life in a new way for audiences in over 190 countries."
De Luca is repped by CAA and Gang Tyre.