Tina Fey-produced comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is moving from NBC to Netflix. The digital service announced Friday that it has acquired exclusive rights to the half-hour comedy series, produced by NBC’s sister studio Universal Television. The series had received a 13-episode season order in the spring from NBC and was touted at as part of the network’s midseason schedule, though no premiere date had been set.
As part of the deal to acquire the show, Netflix has given a greenlight to a second season. The first season is now scheduled to premiere on Netflix in March, 2015.
The series, created and executive produced by Fey and Robert Carlock, stars The Office’s Ellie Kemper as a woman who moves to New York after escaping a doomsday cult.
“The very construct of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—its offbeat premise, hilarious and rich characters and serialized storytelling—make it a perfect Netflix comedy series,” said Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix. “Tina and Robert’s unique comic voice and sensibility come through in this series and we could not be more excited to present Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt exclusively to Netflix members around the world.”
NBC has struggled to establish new comedies on the network in recent years. Last season the network only renewed one new comedy, About a Boy. It has already canceled two freshman comedies this season, Bad Judge and A to Z. And another new comedy slated for midseason, Mission Control, was killed in October before it had a chance to air. The network now has only two new comedies, Mr. Robinson and One Big Happy, available for midseason.
“When the opportunity arose for Tina Fey and Robert Carlock to premiere their new show on Netflix with a two-season commitment, we decided this was the best possible scenario to launch this captivating new series,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt. “While it was originally developed for NBC, we have a very drama-heavy mid-season schedule so we're thrilled about this Netflix opportunity; it’s an instant win-win for everyone, including Tina, Robert, and Universal Television. We’re already talking to these extraordinary creators about new development for NBC, but meanwhile, everyone here from Universal Television will do everything possible to see that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt becomes a long-running hit on Netflix.”
Fey and Carlock were executive producer's on 30 Rock, which ran for seven seasons on NBC.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to debut Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt exclusively on Netflix, which has proven to be such an outstanding place for distinctive, original programming," Fey and Carlock said. "Happily, we will still collaborate with our longtime partners at Universal Television to fulfill Netflix's two-season order. We grew up at NBC and will continue to develop broadcast projects with them as well. We found the inspiration for this series in Ellie Kemper's shining all-American face, and we know that she and Kimmy Schmidt have found their best possible home at Netflix."