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We're grateful to Lifetime for being the gateway to getting the show made. We wouldn't have been able to make the show without them, as far as I can tell. There is no sense of bewilderment that the show had one reaction while it was on Lifetime and another when it went to Netflix. The difference in viewership is obvious, and it's indicative of so many different things, not the least of which is the way young people consume media.
It is impossible to argue with what Penn Badgley told The Washington Post in an email. The viewership uptick could not have happened for a better show. YOU's newfound mantle as a breakout hit is more evidence of the second chance streaming platforms, such as Netflix, offer shows -- especially series that are ignored on broadcast television.
There was an audience to be found for YOU, it just took getting the show on Netflix for them to discover it. As a viewer who watched during its initial run on Lifetime, it was hard to know such an incredible show was flying below pop culture's radar. Thankfully, Netflix has put YOU where it belongs.
During its first four weeks, Netflix claims that YOU is on track to be viewed by more than 40 million members. Numbers that put YOU on a promising track to being a TV success along similar lines to the streaming giant's cinematic hit, Bird Box. Netflix has not shared the context or data that further explains its report.
It goes without saying those numbers easily outdo YOU's ratings on Lifetime. When it aired on the cable network, it averaged 1.1 million viewers, per THR. To say, the show's success has skyrocketed on Netflix would be an understatement.
Clearly sensing what lied ahead, Netflix greenlit the would-be hit for a second season in early December 2018. A move that means when YOU returns for its second season, it will do so exclusively on Netflix.
YOU's hit status on Netflix does not come as a surprise to this viewer. Not only is the show absolutely terrific, it is also perfect for Netflix subscribers. It is a page-turner, built to be binge-watched as the ending of each episode seamlessly leads into the next.
Knowing it has not been made to air on Lifetime, it will be interesting to see what, if any, changes it undergoes creatively. Its second season will be created with a solely Netflix audience in mind. Based on how YOU's first season was cultivated, it seemed to have already taken that into consideration.
For those who have not watched yet. YOU follows Penn Badgley's Joe, a bookstore manager, whose obsession with an aspiring writer takes one shocking turn after another.