Under the terms of the deal, the first two seasons of the series will be available on Netflix later this year. The premiere date for Season 3 will be announced at a later date. News of the move comes 36 years to the day after the premiere of the first “Karate Kid” film. The film grossed over $90 million when it was first released and landed an Oscar nomination for Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi. It ultimately inspired an additional three sequel, a short-lived animated series, and a 2010 film reboot starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.
“The appeal of ‘The Karate Kid’ saga is timeless, and ‘Cobra Kai’ picks up right where it left off without missing a beat,” said Brian Wright, vice president of original series at Netflix. “The rivalry between Daniel and Johnny is one for the ages, and the show has a ton of heart and is a lot of fun. We can’t wait to introduce a new generation of fans to Cobra Kai and are thrilled to be its new home around the world.”
The series continues the story of the “Karate Kid” film franchise, with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprising their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence respectively. Martin Kove also joined the series at the end of Season 1, reprising the role of sensei John Kreese. It also stars Xolo Maridueña, Courtney Henggeler, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Nicole Brown, and Jacob Bertrand.
According to sources, this was not the first attempt to move the series to Netflix. A similar move was attempted ahead of Season 2 but that deal ultimately did not go through.
“Cobra Kai” has proven incredibly popular since it debuted. The first season scored a 100% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Season 2 netting an 88% rating. The show was also nominated for best stunt coordination for a comedy series or variety program for both its first and second seasons.
“We are so proud of ‘Cobra Kai’ and are overwhelmed by the massive fan response to the series,” Sony Pictures Television president Jeff Frost said. “Josh, Jon, Hayden, Ralph, William and the entire cast have done such a brilliant job with this sensational series and the huge audience reaction and sentiment for it is a testament to that. We are very thankful to our partners at Netflix and couldn’t be more elated that they have become the new home for this epic saga.”
The series is written and executive produced by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg via their production company, Counterbalance Entertainment. James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett executive produce for Overbrook Entertainment along with Susan Ekins in association with Sony Pictures Television, with Macchio and Zabka serving as co-executive producers.
“Making ‘Cobra Kai’ has been a dream come true for us since day one,” Heald, Hurwitz, and Schlossberg said. “We are thankful for the tireless dedication of Jeff Frost, Chris Parnell, Jason Clodfelter, Karen Tatevosian, and all our partners at Sony for finding us a new home where we can not only continue the series, but also explore opportunities to further expand ‘The Karate Kid’ universe. We are beyond excited to join our new partners at Netflix and look forward to the show reaching the massive global audience who loves this franchise as much as we do.”
This is the second YouTube Premium show in recent weeks to find a new home. The previously-canceled “Step Up: High Water” was picked up for a third season at Starz in late May.
With “Cobra Kai” now leaving, YouTube Premium is now out of the premium scripted space. YouTube’s subscription service previously aired shows like “Step Up: High Water,” “Wayne,” “Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television,” and “Dallas & Robo.” YouTube shifted its strategy in the original content space last year, instead focusing on unscripted fare and docuseries.