The Mindy Project has been cancelled by Fox after three seasons, sources have revealed. Premiering in September 2012, the show picked up about 4.6 million viewers in its first season. The half-hour sitcom, which aired for a total of 67 episodes was created by Mindy Kaling, who also played the title character, Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a successful OB-GYN trying to balance her professional life with her personal one in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of New York City. Although during most of the first season, Kaling’s character could not quite get it all together in the relationship arena. By the second season, things began to heat up, when in the rear of an airplane, Mindy and her friend/co-worker Danny, played by Chris Messina, kicked off an on-and-off relationship with a passionate kiss. By the end of the third season, Mindy was pregnant with Danny’s child, while Danny headed off to India to seek her parents’ blessing for their marriage.
In April 2015, Messina had already told E! Online that he was unsure whether The Mindy Project would be returning to television, causing much disappointment to its devoted base of fans, who were anxious to meet the newcomer to Dr. Lahiri’s family. Although the series ended with less than half the viewers that it started with, the abrupt announcement that it would not be returning to Fox was enough for the franchise to look for alternative ways to air its future episodes.
Buzzfeed News, in fact, reported that fans may have their way as talks are in progress about the possibility of a multi-season deal, thanks to the web-based streaming service, Hulu, in which The Mindy Project will continue to be shown via its website. Currently, past seasons of The Mindy Project are already available on Hulu, which is co-owned by Comcast’s NBC Universal, Disney’s ABC Television Group, and 21st Century Fox’s Fox Broadcasting Company.
The move of taking a retiring series like The Mindy Project to streaming media is nothing new. Other shows, which had been cancelled from network TV, have also been picked up by streaming media. When NBC cancelled Community after its five-season run, Yahoo! Screen picked it up for its next season. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was also dropped by the same network and then was picked up by Netflix.
When Kaling was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times prior to The Mindy Project‘s exit from TV, she did not express any opposition to the idea of streaming it, but at the same time, expressed caution about its future programming. While some people had advised her to call off the series, Kaling expressed that she did not like to operate under the assumption of failure. After all, she also wanted to see how the life of her extended self played out.
Moving the Fox network-cancelled The Mindy Project over to Hulu could be a major victory for streaming media site. Hulu has been working aggressively to bring its service up to par with two other services which currently dominate the streaming media world–Amazon and Netflix, which feature shows like House of Cards and Transparent.
Recently, Hulu announced a partnership deal with Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, which will provide it with exclusive video-on-demand rights to previous airings of shows on Adult Swim and Cartoon Network. In addition, the streaming network also signed deals with TBS, TNT, FX, Bravo, Discovery, and E!, giving it exclusive streaming rights to popular shows like CSI and Empire.
Moreover, Hulu recently signed an SVOD syndication deal with Sony TV, where it acquired the entire Seinfeld series and paid nearly $1 million for each episode. In addition, the streaming service signed a contract with AMC making it the exclusive SVOD base for AMC’s future productions including The Walking Dead and Fear of the Walking Dead.
With all these deals in place, having Kaling on its network could provide Hulu with an even larger following in the streaming media world. Following the news that Fox had cancelled The Mindy Project, Kaling, while in Montana, took to Instagram where she posted a winking selfie and tweeted it out to her followers.
By Bill Ades