updated 08:20 pm EST, Fri November 18, 2011
Netflix gets lock on Arrested Development return
Fox and Imagine Television confirmed a major deal on Friday to get new episodes of Arrested Development. The agreement outlined by Variety would revive the cult hit TV show starting from early 2013. It reportedly won out in a fierce bidding competition with traditional TV that included Showtime, among others.
The terms of the deal weren't given out, but are likely to be expensive. Netflix' first exclusive show, the Kevin Spacey headliner House of Cards, is unofficially believed to have cost over $100 million.
It comes in sync with plans for an Arrested Development movie and could be crucial to Netflix keeping its status as the primary source of online video in the US. Netflix is on the verge of losing Starz content that, while a small piece of its overall content, may cost it variety that it has been working for years to build. A deal, while not coming for over a year, would help smooth out the public relations fiascoes created first by hiking the price of getting both DVDs and streaming as well as the flip-flop on splitting off DVDs under Qwikster.
As an exclusive, it could significantly shut out competitors like Apple and Amazon. Both as a whole get much more recent content through their willingness to sell TV episodes, but they rarely have true exclusives.