Before she became a household name on television when she portrayed Archie Comics character Sabrina the Teenage Witch on the same-titled and long-running ABC (and later The CW) sitcom, Melissa Joan Hart already established a solid TV foundation for her acting career on Nickelodeon where she played the lead on “Clarissa Explains it All” from 1991 to 1994. This sitcom’s main draw was the early-teen main character Clarissa Darling (Hart), who hung lampshades on teenaged life as depicted on the show…by breaking the fourth wall and directly talking to the audience. Twenty-four years later, talks of a reboot have surfaced.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Nickelodeon is looking to do a reboot of sorts for their 90s sitcom “Clarissa Explains It All”, produced by Thunder Pictures and distributed by CBS Television (though the network passed on its pilot leading to its going to Nick). This show, the second sitcom ever aired in the cable network’s early 90s program, starred Melissa Joan Hart on her first major TV role. The big kicker for this news is that Nickelodeon may have gotten Hart to come back as her character Clarissa, now the mother of a family. Fans of the actress can rejoice now.
In addition to her being in the “Clarissa” reboot’s cast, Hart is also serving as co-executive producer of the sitcom through her Hartbreak Films production banner. Her co-exec is the original show’s creator Mitchell Kriegman, now in talks with Nick to also be the writer. Nickelodeon spokespersons note however that this reboot project is still in the earliest stages of development discussion, and the involvement of both Kreigman and Hart, while highly likely, has not been entirely finalized. Still, Nick’s dabbling in a return of “Clarissa” explaining it all is part of the recent trend of multiple TV show reboots.
The original “Clarissa Explains It All” ran 65 episodes across five seasons, chronicling popular middle-schoolgirl Clarissa Darling’s fourth-wall-breaking narrations of her life growing up, messing with her annoying younger brother, and hanging out with her ladder-climbing boy friend (note the space) Sam. After the series run, a pilot was attempted for a sequel with Clarissa in college, and creator Kriegman took the literary approach with a 2015 novel about an adult Clarissa, entitled “Things I Can’t Explain”. The success of the sitcom led to Nickelodeon developing more shows with female leads, and lead star Hart went on to play “Sabrina”.
Aside from “Clarissa”, another reboot that Nick is working on is that of children’s educational show “Blue’s Clues”. These appear to be one of the strategies being employed by the Viacom-owned cable channel to take advantage of a sudden slump in viewer numbers from rival networks like the Disney Channel.
Photo courtesy of vulture.com