Does 'Harriet the Spy' Need a Disney Makeover?

The Disney Channel is giving Harriet the Spy a makeover. Next month, the House of Mouse is airing Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars, a "contemporary spin" on the award-winning "Harriet the Spy" children's books by Louise Fitzhugh.

Nickelodeon created a somewhat trippy version of the book back in 1996, starring a pre-teen Michelle Trachtenberg and a pre-controversial Rosie O'Donnell. This time, Disney calls up Jennifer Stone (Wizards of Waverly Place) for the title role honors, evolving Harriet into an ambitious high school blogger. According to Disney, the story revolves around competition between Harriet and "her arch nemesis" to become the official blogger of their school class. There are also subplots involving a teen movie musical, a teen heartthrob, and likely enough social networking references to declare it a foreign language film.

The film's production company declares that this "contemporary interpretation" is necessary to make it "relevant and entertaining for today's audience." But does a movie for kids really require the latest fads and status symbols to be relevant and entertaining? The original story was about youthful obsession and indiscretion. This one could easily be more about young adult rivalry and malicious intention. Think: Harriet the Spy meets Mean Girls.

Would Fitzhugh approve? We'll never know, but we'll all be able to spy on Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars when Disney uncovers it on March 26.

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