Last week, it was announced that new Tina Fey-produced comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” would move from NBC to Netflix before it even aired — and now Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos is explaining why.
After NBC worried “about the time of the year” the show would be released (March) and not having “a complementary program to launch it with,” Sarandos tells Vulture he got a call from Fey.
“We got a call from Tina Fey and from Dave Miner to come to New York. We came up literally on the last day of production, watched some of the shooting. Met with Tina and the team, heard what they were planning, and said, ‘Look, if you can work it out with NBC, we’d love to do it.’ And within 12 hours, we’d seen nine of the 13 episodes. And within four days, the deal was done.”
The show, starring “The Office” actress Ellie Kemper as a woman who escapes from a doomsday cult and starts life over again in New York City, is produced by “30 Rock” duo Fey and Robert Carlock, who have a longstanding relationship with NBC.
“This was a strange opportunity where, usually when shows don’t make it, sometimes it has very little to do with the quality and it has everything to do with the time slot, the lead-in show, the time of year it came out,” Sarandos explained to Vulture at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, where he received a career tribute award. “It was probably one of the most remarkable developments of the last couple of years in television.”
And NBC boss Robert Greenblatt was on board with the swap from network TV to the streaming site, saying in a statement: “While it was originally developed for NBC, we have a very drama-heavy mid-season schedule so we’re thrilled about this Netflix opportunity; it’s an instant win-win for everyone, including Tina, Robert, and Universal Television. We’re already talking to these extraordinary creators about new development for NBC, but meanwhile, everyone here from Universal Television will do everything possible to see that ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ becomes a long-running hit on Netflix.”
Cindy Holland, VP of Original Content at Netflix, added to Deadline: “The very construct of ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ — its offbeat premise, hilarious and rich characters and serialized storytelling — make it a perfect Netflix comedy series.”
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