Ratcheting up competition with HBO, Netflix will produce 13 episodes of a new comedy series, "Orange is the New Black," according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The online movie and TV service will have first rights to the series from the creator of "Weeds," said the person, who wasn't authorized to speak before the deal is announced. The show is based on the memoir of a communications executive who served time for drug-related charges in a minimum-security women's prison.
Netflix's negotiations to back the show were first reported in November.
The comedy from "Weeds" creator Jenji Kohan is the second original series bankrolled by Netflix, which is positioning itself as a rival to Time Warner 's HBO. The company also backed the Kevin Spacey drama "House of Cards" for later this year.
Netflix has also has picked up exclusive distribution rights to series produced by others. The Norwegian drama "Lilyhammer" is now available, and new episodes of "Arrested Development" are scheduled for 2013.
CEO Reed Hastings in December described HBO Go, the online offshoot of the cable network, as "the competitor we fear most."
--Bloomberg News --