Hulu Joins Bidding War For Rights To Pre-Movie Arrested Development Series

By Will LeBlanc 2011-10-05 07:54:18 discussion comments
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It should come as no surprise that there are many parties interested in airing the proposed Arrested Development mini-series announced by creator Mitch Hurwitz at last weekís New Yorker festival. The hilarious show lives on Netflix and Hulu as one of the most watched series of both platforms despite itís cancellation by Fox in 2006 after just three seasons.

This new mini-season will run about nine episodes, one for each of the returning characters--George, Lucille, Buster, Gob, Lindsay, Tobias, Maeby, George Michael, and everybodyís favorite patriarch Michael Bluth (No joy for Franklin Delano Bluth, though). Showtime is again poking its head into the situation, as it did when AD was looking for a home in 2006, along with Netflix who is already branching out into creating its own content and looking to use this a stepping stone. And IFC recently joined the fray as well. In a bit of a surprise move though, Vulture is reporting that failing online video hub Hulu is now part of the bidding war for the series.

Itís no secret that Hulu is running on its last legs already as it continues to lose partners and subscribers, so this push to get new AD episodes will likely be a last ditch effort to hook people into their service. The fear is that theyíll bury the series as a Hulu Plus only series meaning that normal folk like you and me wonít be able to watch the new episodes without signing up for their $7.99/month service. Not that this is a bad value, they have a pretty solid amount of content, and this opens doors to watching newer episodes of shows, something Netflix canít keep up with. But for people who already pay $7.99 for the Netflix streaming service, another service that does basically the same thing isnít an appealing expense.

However, Arrested Development has garnered over 100 million hits on Hulu which will certainly be appealing for advertisers, which would allow Hulu to make their money without taking more of ours. It is unlikely that Hulu will be able to pony up the kind of cash itís going to take to get the distribution rights, but at this point anything can happen.

The whole situation is still up in the air. Hurwitz et al. have been promising a return to the Arrested Development universe for years now and parading the cast around on stage isnít enough to make me believe itís actually going to happen. With the castís enthusiasm about the show itíd be great to see it come back, but until we see set photos and trailers, weíll remain as skeptical as we ever were.
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