Sometime last summer, without any reporting at the time, Girls5Eva, the well-reviewed but semi-obscure comedy series from Tina Fey, was quietly canceled by NBCU’s Peacock. Despite a Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score of 98 percent, the show never quite broke into the wider zeitgeist. But luckily for the cast, and for its smitten critics, the show has been resuscitated for a third season at Netflix.
There is, of course, a sophisticated audience retention strategy behind this particular bit of I.P. shuffling. Because while not many people watched Girls5Eva on Peacock, the show could potentially find a much wider-reaching audience on Netflix. And that’s precisely the dynamic that makes Netflix such a powerful force among all the streaming companies, despite its recent and precipitous stock decline (and cautiously optimistic resurgence). Netflix, after all, remains virtually unmatched in its ability to resuscitate a show: to take a title that was otherwise left for dead, prop it up in front of its 223 million paid subscribers, and turn it into a bonafide global hit.
Manifest, which NBC canceled after three seasons, became an international sensation once it was picked up by Netflix, where it stayed in the Top 10 for weeks on end. (Netflix ordered a fourth season shortly thereafter.) You, which moved from Lifetime to Netflix for its third season, racked up 1 billion minutes watched within its first five days, according to Nielsen. You ended up being the 44th most in-demand series on Netflix globally in 2021, according to Parrot Analytics, where I work as director of strategy. And Fox’s Lucifer ended 2021 as the most-watched Netflix original series (with new seasons) in the U.S. and the sixth most in-demand series globally.