Twentieth Century Fox Television and Imagine Television have
made an unprecedented deal with Netflix to put their former Fox series Arrested
Development back into production, the companies announced Friday.
New episodes of the critical darling, which Fox canceled
five years ago, are slated to begin airing on the internet video subscription
service in the first half of 2013.
The move comes several months after Netflix announced in
March it was getting into originals with the adaptation of a BBC miniseries, House
It also comes after Dana Walden, chairman of TCFTV, told B&C she and
her fellow chairman Gary Newman were in "very active conversations" with
Netflix about collaborating on original production.
"It is critical for a company like ours to be evolving and to explore
opportunities with all of these platforms and to remain thoughtful so that
there's not just one form of programming that we are capable of producing,"
Walden told B&C.
The companies did not announce Friday how many episodes
of Arrested Development they would produce; in fact the number of
episodes in the order "is not clear," according to a TCFTV spokesman. And while
the whole cast has expressed a desire and are expected to return, no official
deals for the cast are set, the spokesman says.
Development is one of the finest American comedies in TV history and its
return through Netflix is a perfect example of how we are working closely with
studios and networks to provide consumers with entertainment they love," Ted
Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, said in a statement.
The series, which centered on the eccentric Bluth family,
after experiencing a reversal of fortune, aired for three seasons on Fox from
2003-2006. The comedy starred Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor,
Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, David Cross and Alia
"Bringing a classic show back to production on new
episodes exclusively for Netflix customers is a game changer, and illustrates
the incredible potential the new digital landscape affords great content
providers like Twentieth Century Fox Television and Imagine," Peter Levinsohn,
Fox Filmed Entertainment's president of new media & digital Distribution,
said in the announcement.
In the news release, TCFTV Chairmen Walden and Newman
characterized the deal as representing a new business model. The duo have
defied convention in bringing back canceled series before, with Family Guy
and Futurama. But never have they brought a show back via Netflix.
Arrested Development won the Emmy Award for
Outstanding Comedy Series after its first season on the air. It is a production
of Imagine Television and 20th Century Fox Television. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer
and Mitch Hurwitz are executive producers.
News of the Arrested Development
pact being in the works at Netflix was first reported by Variety.