Netflix has saved Tina Fey’s comedy from NBC cancellation. It is the first comedy to be saved after her hit 30 Rock. The movie streaming service will debut the program from March next year.
Fey’s comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is about a woman who is starting a new life in New York after escaping from a doomsday cult. NBC originally ordered it for its mid-season lineup, but decided that it was no longer a good fit. In the end, Netflix decided to pick it up. It joins Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, which both found homes through the service.
NBC announced that the mid-season schedule is already very drama-heavy, so it was no longer a good fit. However, it is a win-win situation since the program will still be aired. It also got a two-season commitment to start with on the streaming service, and will hopefully draw in the audience that it needs.
The program will be filmed in New York, and will start as Kimmy has left the cult, which she was living in for 15 years. Kimmy needs to learn how to work and live outside of the cult, and decides that New York is the perfect place to start her new life. She ends up renting a gay Broadway actor’s room, who is currently working as a Times Square robot to make money. A number of familiar faces are seen, including Jane Krakowski and Carol Kane.
NBC will still technically own Fey’s new comedy, but it is being saved from nothingness. It is also getting a longer guaranteed run of 26 episodes rather than the 13 that NBC could only guarantee. There was little hope that the show would be renewed for a second season if it remained on the main TV network.
Netflix and NBC work together. Netflix’s corporate parent is NBC-Universal, so the network will still make money from this move. However, it would have only made money by getting enough episodes, and that is easier with the online streaming service.
Netflix is now turning into the option when TV shows are cancelled. The Killing and Longmire have recently been given a fourth seasons because the streaming service took up the shows after their respective cancellations by AMC and A&E. It is possible for Netflix to air a number of shows that have been riddled with low viewing figures in the past. The service focuses on subscription numbers and not the number of people viewing individual shows. It is excellent news for those who are major fans of the shows.
Working with Fey is also a benefit for the service. Netflix now has competition in the form of Amazon, so needs to do something to keep the subscription base high. Getting bigger names to work on programs—some exclusive to the service—will help with that.
It shows the way that programming is changing. There is no longer the need to rely on TV networks, as online subscription services are now available. Fey’s new comedy has been saved by Netflix because of this move.
By Alexandria Ingham
Photo by Gage Skidmore