Netflix is in talks to bring Arrested Development back for a fifth season, it’s been confirmed, despite mixed reviews for season four when it debuted on the on-demand streaming provider back in May. “We are in conversations with [Netflix] to do another” Brian Grazer, CEO of production company Imagine Entertainment responsible for the show, told Bloomberg, describing Netflix as “interested in doing that.”
The return of Arrested Development was a high-profile event for Netflix, one of the company’s much-vaunted attempts to develop and fund its own content rather than just provide that of other studios. The show, along with the homegrown “Netflix Originals” Hemlock Grove, debuted on the service in Q2, with all episodes available at once rather than forcing people to wait for each season to roll out progressively.
However, reviews of Arrested Development season four proved mixed, with critics and fans vocal in their concern that the show had lost some of its previous sparkle. Netflix’s stock price took a tumble as high-profile reviewers slammed the series, criticizing the jokes as weak and the plotlines as flabby.
Netflix is yet to comment on the reported talks, but has given mixed messages on its intentions for Arrested Development in previous statements. Initially, the show’s return was billed as a one-season affair, but CEO Reed Hastings muddied that certainty in May when he commented that “if the talent were willing to do more and interested in that, I’m sure we would be willing.”
The company is yet to reveal exact viewing figures for Arrested Development and Hemlock Grove, though may detail how successful each show was when it announces its Q2 financial results on July 22. Hemlock Grove has already been renewed for a second season, along with House of Cards, Lilyhammer, and Orange is the New Black.
Part of Netflix’s strategy with its original content is to mine its viewer preferences data to identify potential hit shows yet to be created. Hemlock Grove, for instance, was commissioned after Netflix analysis indicated viewers were keen on supernatural-themed content and Eli Roth as a director.