UPDATE: October 29, 2012
@TheFilmStage Arrested Development season 4 coming April 2013 and all at once, as per usual with @Netflix.
'Arrested Development' to return on Netflix
Netflix is licensing new episodes of the TV series "Arrested Development" from 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television.
The sides struck a deal with the streaming service that will launch new episodes of the Emmy-winning comedy in early 2013, the studio confirmed.
The prospect of "Development" returning in both TV and film forms was raised last month when the show's creator, Mitch Hurwitz, announced in an appearance at the New Yorker Festival that he was intent on reuniting the series' original actors, including Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, for another go-round.
"Arrested" had a critically acclaimed run on Fox from 2003-2006, but the network canceled the series given its ratings were always modest at best.
All of the series regulars have expressed interest in returning and are expected back, though no deals have been done. How that will work will be interesting given many of them are maintaing busy careers. "Arrested" player Arnett is currently on the NBC series "Up All Night" and another alum, Portia de Rossi, is attached to a high-profile project in development at the Peacock.
Where this leaves the proposed "Arrested" feature film isn't clear. While one source familiar with the project said it is currently in development at Fox Searchlight, another source at the studio denied it was an active project. Hurwitz's vision of the film was to schedule it after the series run in order to drive interest at the box office, but at the very least it seems that the film and TV aren't attached to each other.
Hurwitz was executive producer of "Arrested" with Imagine principals Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. The producing pair issued a statement: "Bringing a series back from cancellation almost never happens, but then, 'Arrested' always was about as unconventional as they get, so it seems totally appropriate that this show that broke the mold is smashing it to pieces once again."
That Netflix has emerged the winner of a bidding war that reportedly included pay-TV player Showtime will be seen as a real coup for the service, which already gave Hollywood notice in March that it was in the original programming business in a big way when it ordered a 22-episode adaptation of the BBC drama "House of Cards" set to premiere next year. Analysts estimated "Cards," which comes with Kevin Spacey attached to star and David Fincher to executive produce, cost Netflix $100 million to get the rights from Media Rights Capital.
Financial terms of the "Arrested" deal are not known but could be substantial given the caliber of talent involved.
While Netflix's market capitalization was sent reeling in recent months after ill-advised decisions regarding its pricing, the need for original programming is all the greater as content companies have held the line at giving the service TV shows that are in-season.
Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix said of the deal, "'Arrested Development is one of the finest American comedies in TV history and its return through Netflix is a perfect example of how we are working closely with studios and networks to provide consumers with entertainment they love,'" said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer.
The return of "Development" would be a stunner given it is rare that a series comes back after a protracted absence, though 20th and Fox have seen precedent here: Animated series "Family Guy" was canceled in 2001 only to be revived three years later after the series fared well on DVD and in syndication.
Netflix, Showtime looking at new 'Arrested Development' limited series
Arrested Development may get another lease on life on the small screen: EW has confirmed that the producers of Arrested Development - the critically-acclaimed but short-lived comedy from Mitchell Hurwitz - are in talks with Showtime and Netflix about airing a limited number of original episodes that will update fans on the Bluth clan.
Hurwitz told attendees at the New Yorker Festival Sunday in New York that he wanted to shoot nine to 10 episodes that would air next fall and catch audiences up on the characters' lives since the series ended in 2006 on Fox. The episodes would be produced by 20th Century Fox TV, which was responsible for the original single camera series that starred Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, and Portia DeRossi.
Hurwitz' hope is that the limited series would serve as a walk-up to his long-gestating movie. "I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by there was so much more to the story," he said at the festival, which was also attended by Development stars Bateman, De Rossi, and Cera, as well as David Cross, Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Tony Hale, and Alia Shawkat. Ron Howard, one of the comedy's producers, even participated via speakerphone. "In fact, where everyone's been for five years became a big part of the story. So, in working on the screenplay I found that even if I just gave five minutes per character to that backstory, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together. And that kinda gave birth to this thing we've not been pursuing for a while and we're kinda going public with a little bit. We're trying to do kind of limited run series into the movie."
Hurwitz then unveiled his very unconventional plan. "We're basically hoping to do nine or 10 episodes with almost one character per episode, where like the first episode will just be Buster. We're kinda picturing it like, um, well the latest joke we have is that, you know, it's Cambridge, Massachusetts and there's all these scientists in lab coats and they're waiting for somebody and Buster comes through the door wearing a lab quote and says `let's begin,' and they say, `you don't get to wear the lab coat, we're experimenting on you. [garbled] And then we go through his life and we meet the people in his life and maybe he goes to see his therapist who he's getting a good rate on because it's Tobias and he's lost his license. We can do cross overs and things like that. But it's an unusual style of show I think and we get him to a certain point of peril in his life and then maybe we jump over to like Maeby and she's living with Cornel West … We'll do this kind of thing that builds the peril in their lives until they all come together, really, in the first scene of the movie. It requires, and Ron [Howard] has been working on this too, it just requires studios to work together, they don't normal work together in film and TV. It's a really ambitious project but it's also a very simple project in a way because it kind of gives the fans a level of detail for `granularity,' which is a big word on the East Coast."
"I really have to say, we've talked about this, we're all game, we hated be coy, we've been trying to put together this more ambitious idea and I think we're very close, the script is halfway done and we have to get the film companies on board," Hurwitz continued. "They've always been great to us but you know times are tough and money is tight but I'm very hopeful , there is business left to be done but creatively we have a very specific plan of how it would come out and what we would do and when we would shoot it. Our hope is that, perhaps the series is in the fall."
Granted, this isn't the first time that Showtime has emerged as some kind of savior for Arrested Development. Back in 2006, the pay cabler was considering whether to rescue the canceled show but obviously no deal was reached. But this latest development on Development is a horse of a different color - and one that the actors seem to have embraced. The stars in attendance at today's festival acknowledged that they were keeping their schedules free to make such a series.
Videos and Photos from the 2011 New Yorker Festival: "Arrested Development" Panel
Just finished the series and must i say, It was Wonderful!!!!! Im really hoping we get the movie. Since I'm a big Office fan, people had been telling me for years to watch the show and they just recently added it to the instant netflix queue so i watched it. Now, im not gonna say it was better than the office, but it is still really great, any thoughts?