Disney Sells off a Promising Show to Netflix
More than two years after Disney titles began to leave Netflix amid the launch of Disney+, it seems a new Disney-backed series is heading to the streaming giant. Deadline reported on March 1 that Netflix has given the greenlight to a Kristen Bell-starring untitled comedy series from 20th Television. It is believed that the series, per the outlet, will be the first series order for a 20th TV show at Netflix since the studio became part of Disney.
At this time, details of the upcoming series are scarce. The untitled project will reportedly star Bell as "an irreverent, outspoken, agnostic woman." Loosely based on executive producer Erin Foster's real-life experiences, the show centers on the unlikely relationship between Bell's character and an unconventional rabbi. Along with Bell and Foster, the series is executive produced by Steven Levitan alongside Craig DiGregorio, Sara Foster and Danielle Stokdyk. 20th Television produces in association with studio-based Steven Levitan Prods. The series had reportedly been in negotiations at the streamer for the past couple of months. It is unclear when the show could possibly premiere, and no other casting announcements aside from Bell have been confirmed.
The series will mark just the latest 20th Television project at Netflix. The production company became the first major TV studio to get an original series on Netflix with the Arrested Development, with other titles – Ryan Murphy's The Politician and Ratched, the animated comedy Hoops, and more – releasing in the following years. However, the upcoming series will mark the first series order for a 20th TV show at Netflix since the studio became part of Disney. The move comes as media congloms begin to shift their focus from exclusively supplying their own streamers to profitability, with Disney, under CEO Bob Iger, beginning to explore licensing more film and TV content to rivals.
Although the Netflix streaming library once boasted dozens of Disney-backed titles, nearly all of those have since left the platform. The mass exodus of Disney titles began in 2019 with the launch of Disney+, with more adult-themed series and movies making the move to Disney-controlled Hulu. Netflix has lost other licensed titles amid the rise in the streaming wars as companies have launched their own streaming services, including NBCUniversal's Peacock. Amid the shift in the streaming landscape, Netflix has put a larger focus on original content, all while also earning criticism for its frequent cancellations.