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Though the show’s departure adds to a growing trend of streaming originals disappearing from their respective platforms — removals at HBO Max and Showtime come to mind — Netflix’s dilemma differs from those cases, which were driven by cost-cutting initiatives to avoid residual fees. By contrast, Netflix co-produced Seasons 4 and 5 with 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment, and the licensing deal that allowed the streamer to host those seasons is now expiring.
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Therefore, while the “Arrested Development” landing page on Netflix is already alerting viewers that March 14 is the last day to watch the series, that still seems to be subject to change. For example, Norwegian crime drama “Lilyhammer,” which was billed as the first-ever Netflix original, was announced to be leaving the service last year before a licensing renewal at the last hour allowed the series to continue streaming. The nature of the “Arrested Development” licensing deal and whether involved parties are exploring a renewal is currently unknown.
But if the removal of “Arrested Development does go through,” it will be one of the few times Netflix has lost its own original content, though that has previously occurred with other series co-owned by outside studios. With Marvel series such as “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” for example, Disney opted not to renew their licensing deals, instead moving those projects to the then-recently launched Disney+.
After initially running on Fox for three seasons, “Arrested Development” was canceled in 2006. In 2012, when Netflix was still relatively new to producing its own projects, the streamer elected to revive the series. Season 4 premiered in 2013 and the fifth and final seasons premiered in two installments between 2018 and 2019. While reviving the series, Netflix also secured non-exclusive streaming rights to the first three seasons. Those seasons also currently stream on Hulu, which, like 20th Television, is owned by Disney.
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz, “Arrested Development” starred Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Cera, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi and Alia Shawkat. Hurwitz executive produced with Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, David Nevins, Jim Vallely and Troy Miller.
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