March 4, 2019
The Baby-Sitters Club is coming to Netflix
by Stephanie DeLuca
This meeting of the Baby-Sitters Club will now come to order! And there is big news to discuss: Netflix has ordered an adaptation of author Ann M. Martin’s beloved best-selling book series, The Baby-Sitters Club. Lesley Goldberg reports for the Hollywood Reporter that the show, set for a 10 episode run, will be a “family-friend adaptation.”
If you are a person who grew up in the 1990s, there’s a good chance these books hold a special place in your heart. First published in 1986, Martin started her series with Kristy’s Great Idea, in which Kristy has The Great Idea to start the Baby-Sitters Club with her group of friends. Martin wrote another 34 books in the series, but with the help of other writers (who stepped in after Martin decided to move on), there are more than 200 Baby-Sitters Club books in total. The series has sold over 180 million copies to date.
The Baby-Sitters Club books revolved around a group of girls who employed their intelligence, creativity, and entrepreneurialism to build a successful business. The storylines focused on their friendships, jobs, relationships, issues with parents, and all the other consequences that come along with being a teenage girl. The books sparked a love of reading for many young girls as they were growing up; friends traded copies back and forth, and with so many in the series there was hardly a fear of running out of books to read. Every girl who read these books could see herself reflected back in at least one of the many diverse characters Martin created. Ask a millennial woman if she’s a Kristy, Stacey, Claudia, Mary Ann, Dawn, Mallory, or Jessi, and she probably knows what you’re talking about.
For her part, Martin is on board with the reboot and will help to produce the series. In a statement she said:
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.
From the announcement, it seems as if the Netflix show will stay true to the books’ roots. Goldberg writes that executive producer Mike De Luca and showrunner Rachel Shukert have pitched the show as a series set to “tackle themes around divorce, racism and belonging in a series geared for kids, teens and adults.” Melissa Cobb, VP of kids and family at Netflix said:
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. 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.
I’m all for contemporizing the storylines, but I’d still love to see the BSC sitting around a landline phone.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.