"Arrested Development" fans who want the show to come back for good had better start looking for someone to help them out. Netflix will release the newest season of the show in May, but CEO Reed Hastings said that's all his company has signed up for.
Speaking at Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco on Monday, Hastings said he didn't anticipate being able to do season five, six or seven – just the forthcoming fourth season. Though Hastings referred to it Monday as the fourth, both Netflix and the show's creators are referring to it as a new season with no chronological modifier.
"It's a fantastic one-off," Hastings said, citing his company's lack of control over the Fox and Imagine-produced show. "Think about it as a non-repeatable amazing."
Despite its passionate audience, the critically beloved comedy was canceled by Fox in 2006 after three seasons due to low ratings. Years later, Netflix stepped in to distribute a new season.
Creator Mitchell Hurwitz said this month at AllThingsD's Dive Into Media conference that Netflix was one of the only places where the show could live. A movie, he said, would be too difficult because time has passed since the show last aired, but releasing the show all at once, as Netflix will do, enabled him to film around his actors' schedules.
Hastings on Monday tried to downplay the importance of original shows to Netflix's bottom line while concurrently recognizing that they were essential to its future. Netflix, which just released the "House of Cards," has several new shows coming this year, including Eli Roth's "Hemlock Grove" and Jenji Kohan's "Orange is the New Black."
"It may be the center of the PR for a while and that's OK, but i don't want you guys to think that suddenly we're the original content company," Hastings said.
Companies like Hulu and Amazon are also investing in original programming, and Hastings compared them all to successful cable channels, such as HBO, Showtime, FX and Starz. Yet only one can be HBO.
"We want to be HBO," Hastings said. "And let others be the smaller ones."