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Netflix in Talks for Another Season of 'Arrested Development'

Streaming Service Interested Despite Mixed Reviews for Sitcom's Revival

Published on . 1

Netflix, the largest subscription video-streaming service, is in talks for another season of "Arrested Development," said Brian Grazer, co-chairman of the production company, Imagine Entertainment.

'Arrested Development'
'Arrested Development'

"We are in conversations with them to do another," Mr. Grazer said in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg Television at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. "They are interested in doing that."

CEO Reed Hastings has called "Arrested Development" and other "Netflix originals" integral to his strategy of transforming the company from a purveyor of rerun programming into a web-based television network offering a mix of Hollywood movies and new shows, comparable to Time Warner's HBO.

Joris Evers, a spokesman for Netflix, didn't respond to a phone message and e-mail seeking comment.

All-new episodes of "Arrested Development" and the horror series "Hemlock Grove" began streaming on Netflix in the second quarter, and Mr. Hastings has said both exceeded viewing expectations, without offering numbers.

The revived show, produced with 21st Century Fox, follows the comedic exploits of the Bluth family. Anticipation among fans of the original run on Fox Broadcasting reached fever pitch as the new season on Netflix approached. Once it arrived, however, reviews were mixed enough to take some of the blame when Netflix stock subsequently slipped.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos defended the show in May, saying viewers had a different experience than critics. "If you're a critic in New York and you set your alarm for 3 o'clock in the morning, and you wake up and watch a half-hour of television and write a review, which is like the equivalent of writing a review of the first 10 minutes of a movie, you're probably not going to have a great experience," Mr. Sarandos said at the Nomura Global Media and Telecom Summit, according to Variety. "And by the way, no one in the world had that experience. Everyone watched a couple of episodes, went to bed, woke up the next day and watched more."

Mr. Hastings originally said it was a one-season undertaking, a position he hedged in May on CNBC. "If the talent were willing to do more and interested in that, I'm sure we would be willing," he told the network.

Netflix reports second-quarter results on July 22. Investors are expected to focus on subscriber figures to see if the company has parlayed its originals programs into new signups and better customer retention. Netflix makes it easy to sign up for a first month free and then quit.

The company recently ordered a second season of "Orange is the New Black" and "Hemlock Grove," joining new orders for "House of Cards," and "Lilyhammer."

~ Bloomberg News and Ad Age staff ~

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