The talk series, which had previously debuted new episodes on Sony’s ad-supported streaming service Crackle, will bring 24 new episodes exclusively to Netflix starting in late 2017, with subsequent installments coming in 2018 and further forward in time. The move is part of a multi-faceted production deal Seinfeld has inked with Netflix that will also include two new stand-up specials filmed exclusively for the streaming service.
News of the deal comes mere days after the announcement that Sony Entertainment chief Michael Lynton was leaving the company for Snap, Inc.; itself preceded by Sony TV head Steve Mosko’s departure in June 2016. Seinfeld’s relationship with Sony extends back to the days of his first TV success with “Seinfeld,” produced by Sony Pictures Television.
But now Netflix, belle of the streaming ball, has exclusive global distribution rights to Seinfeld’s series. In addition to the new episodes, Netflix will also get the 59 older ones that already had their first runs on Crackle. (“Seinfeld” streams exclusively on Hulu.)
“When I first started thinking about ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,’ the entire Netflix business model consisted of mailing out DVDs in envelopes,” Seinfeld said in a statement. “I love that we are now joining together, both at very different points. I am also very excited to be working with Ted Sarandos at Netflix, a guy and a place that not only have the same enthusiasm for the art of stand up comedy as I do, but the most amazing technology platform to deliver it in a way that has never existed before. I am really quite charged up to be moving there.”
Netflix has indeed been heavily investing in original comedy, with new stand-up specials popping up several times a month.
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” has racked up three Emmy nominations; most recently, in the variety talk series category, virtually unheard-of for a streaming service. “This has been such an exciting Lewis-and-Clark, ‘paddle down the river and see what’s down there’ adventure, there was no expectation of anything,” Seinfeld told Variety shortly after his nomination. “I’m flattered and humbled our little show has gotten this far. We didn’t even know if audiences would watch a TV show on the internet every week.”