Because Netflix never publishes ratings, it’s been free to hold on to TV shows for as long as it wants. In the last five years, the streaming giant hasn’t shown a tendency to dump many of its original series, until producers wanted for them to end. That changed in 2017, as the economics of programming more TV finally caught up with Netflix, which axed first-year series like “The Get Down,” “Girlboss,” and “Gypsy.”
What changed? “It wasn’t like we were setting out to cancel more shows,” Ted Sarandos says in this week’s Variety cover story about Netflix. “It was the idea of saying, ‘Are you being risky enough?’ The bad thing about renewing a show that isn’t being watched, it creates opportunity cost. And a lot of opportunity lost for fans to find something they are going to love.”
Sarandos revealed that Netflix’s preference is to allow showrunners to tie up loose ends for series with loyal followings. When they dropped the Wachowskis’ sci-fi series “Sense8” in June, they offered a two-hour finale, which was originally rebuffed by Lana Wachowski. “She would have liked to have gone on, but she wasn’t as excited about doing the two-hour [finale],” Sarandos says.
Yet Wachowski reconsidered after a wave of outcry on social media about the show stopping. “The fan influence on her was very helpful,” Sarandos says. “Her desire to have an ending increased a lot.”
For more from this week’s cover story, click here.