EXCLUSIVE: Mitch Hurwitz is staying in the Netflix fold with a multi-year deal, a rare pact with a writer-producer for the streaming giant. Under the multi-tier agreement, the Arrested Development creator will create and produce new original series for the Internet TV network through his banner The Hurwitz Company. Additionally, he will develop projects with other creators as a non-writing executive producer and will consult for Netflix on comedy series. Hurwitz first worked with Netflix on a new season of his Emmy-winning comedy series Arrested Development, which was released last year. “We are lucky to be in business with Mitch Hurwitz, a true genius with one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today,” said Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “Mitch’s inventive approach to Arrested Development — one of the top TV comedies of this generation — was ahead of its time, and we’re fortunate to have him on our team.”
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After winning six Emmys for its three-year run on Fox from 2003-06 — including three for Hurwitz, for best series and two for writing — Arrested Development‘s fourth season on Netflix earned three more Emmy nominations for the show, bringing the total to 25. Hurwitz executive produced and co-directed Season 4, and it was that collaboration with Netflix, which Hurwitz describes as being “the best professional experience of my life, even topping some of my favorite unprofessional experiences,” that led to the new deal. “It is incredibly inspiring to get to produce for Netflix, a company that not only doesn’t resist change but is leaps and bounds ahead of everyone in forging it,” Hurwitz said. “The fact that I’m also getting one month of their streaming right to my TV or Xbox free … well, it really takes the sting out of buying that Xbox.”
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Paul Brownfield is an AwardsLine contributor.
On May 26 at 12:01 a.m., 15 new episodes of Arrested Development went live on Netflix; by 5 a.m., the series’ legions of fans probably had exhausted the new supply. The comedy’s cancellation of Arrested by Fox in 2006, after two seasons, prompted an afterlife of rumors and almost-announcements, as series creator Mitch Hurwitz worked on a feature script of his cult series. Like the fans, Hurwitz didn’t want to let go of his extended band of crazies, the Bluths, either. And then Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, suggested resurrecting the show to Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard. “And Ron said, ‘That’s a very nice thought, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,’” Hurwitz says. Except it did happen.
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AwardsLine: How different was the process in working with Netflix?
Mitch Hurwitz: I wasn’t turning scripts in, because of the nature of the thing. We weren’t shooting one a week. We’d shoot pieces of eight different episodes in any given week. We were shooting 12, 14 pages a day, shooting like crazy. We screened it at the premiere — it was the first time an audience had seen it, but it was also the first time I’d seen two (episodes) in a row. I’d just been making them and putting them in the pipeline. And I guess that’s the case usually with television. The difference with this one, though, is that it’s all coming out on the same day. And it will be viewed by some as an eight-hour movie. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After a four-year stint at WME, Mitch Hurwitz has re-signed with CAA. The Emmy-winning Arrested Development creator had been a long-time CAA client when he moved to WME exactly four years ago, becoming one of the first signing for the then-newly merged agency. Hurwitz recently reconnected with its old agency, which made the deal for the new installment of Arrested Development on Netflix having commissioned the original series. The 15 new episodes of Arrested launched on the streaming service three weeks ago, and there is already talk about possibly doing more. Last weekend, Arrested Development was named among the top 20 best written TV series of all time.
When Netflix gets around to filming new episodes of Arrested Development — show creator Mitch Hurwitz says production will begin this summer — the streaming video service will release all 10 new segments at once, according to a report on Mashable. The new episodes will be released “sometime next year,” Netflix said last night at NAB in Las Vegas. The service is bringing back the Fox-Imagine series that was canceled in 2006 because of poor ratings, but the intense loyalty of the show’s fans convinced Hurwitz and Netflix it was worth another shot. New episodes will focus on a single individual character, Hurwitz told the audience, and would be similar to those from the past. He didn’t offer specifics about storyline. Netflix originally planned to present the show to subscribers during the first half of 2013. The timing is less certain now. Hurwitz also expressed hope it might be possible to produce an additional season if those initial 10 new segs prove successful. Netflix previously released all eight episodes of Lilyhammer, the company’s initial push into original programming and plans to bring it back for a second season.
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Netflix And Showtime Eye Potential New ‘Arrested Development’ Limited Series
Just like it did with its first original series acquisition, drama House Of Cards, Netflix has outbid an established pay cable network for the rights to new episodes of short-lived Arrested Development. Netflix and Showtime had both been pursuing the new installment of the Emmy-winning series, which will now be available to Netflix subscribers in early 2013. The exact number of episodes has not been determined, though at an Arrested Development panel discussion last month, where series creator Mitch Hurwitz broke the news of the series revival, he indicated that the idea is to do a limited 9-10 episode series, which would serve as a bridge between the original series and the long-gestating Arrested Development movie. The plan is for each episode to focus on a different member of the Bluth clan. Arrested Development producer 20th Century Fox TV has no deals with the cast, but all have expressed interest in reprising their roles. Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Tony Hale, Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Walter supported the idea at the panel last month. “Arrested Development… has stood the test of time,” 20thTV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman said, noting that this is the third canceled series the studio had produced, along with … Read More »
UPDATED: Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurtwitz dropped another bombshell today, telling a panel at The New Yorker Festival that he plans to bring the Emmy-winning series back to television for a limited 9-10 episode run before proceeding with the long-gestating Arrested Development movie. He didn’t specify where the potential series would air as it doesn’t necessarily have to run on Fox, which carried the mothership series. I hear that 20th Century Fox TV, which co-produced Arrested Development with Imagine TV, has had talks with Netflix, which has been on the hunt for original programming, and Showtime, whose new entertainment president David Nevins shepherded Arrested Development when he ran Imagine TV and served as an executive producer on the cult series. 20th TV declined comment.
According to attendees at the panel, where Hurwitz was joined by series stars Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Tony Hale, Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross, Alia Shawkat and Jessica Walter, Hurwitz laid out his plan to have each installment focus on a different member of the Bluth clan. Bateman later weighed in on the announcement on Twitter. “It’s true,” he wrote. “We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. VERY excited!” That would mean launching the follow-up limited series on the 10th anniversary of the original, which premiered in 2003 and ran … Read More »
Drawing on his experience with his comedy series Arrested Development canceled after 53 episodes (and a best comedy series Emmy) and Running Wilde axed after 13 episodes, Mitch Hurwitz wrote the following Guide to Getting A Sitcom Canceled for the British newspaper The Guardian. Its publication is tied to Arrested Development airing in the U.K., the country the show was apparently intended for (see below):
Have a confusing title
Come up with an unwieldy title that perhaps comes from the realm of psychology, so that the title of your show is almost instantly forgettable. For example, if you were to call the show Welcome Matt, an audience could immediately understand the concept: this must be a character named Matt and he must either be a welcoming person or stepped on. If you call a show Arrested Development it’s confusing and sufficiently disorientating to guarantee that a wide audience never discovers the fruits of your labor.
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If you wondered how long it took before first Arrested Development-related question at the Running Wilde panel came in, it was a couple of minutes. The comparisons are inevitable: new Fox comedy series Running Wilde was created by Arrested alums Mitch Hurwitz, Will Arnett and Jim Vallely and stars Arnett, with another Arrested actor, David Cross, recently joining the cast in a recasting.
“We very much loved Arrested Development, we miss it and that’s why we still want to make the movie, Hurwitz said, adding after the session that the script for the movie is halfway done. “But this is a different project, and it has a different set of rules to it.”
Addressing the fact that, with Wilde, he is looking to do a romantic comedy with wider appeal than the off-beat Arrested, Hurwitz confessed that “I have a fear of success…. a hope of it being cancelled,” but later added that he is “glad to be trying to make a show that attracts larger audience.”
Added Arnett, “We’re out of our comfort zone and we’re figuring it out.” Arnett, one of the current kings of dead-pan humor, was overshadowed on the panel by recent cast addition Peter Serafinowicz, who is sometime referred to “the British Will Arnett.” (Serafinowicz was recently upped to a regular after guest starring in the pilot.) One example: He followed Hurwitz’s praise of Fox’s support for the project with this take on the network: “It’s come such a long wasy since the days they just did documentaries about … Read More »
By now you may have already heard that David Cross is joining Mitch Hurwitz and Will Arnett’s new comedy series Running Wilde, bringing in another piece to the Arrested Development reunion that’s forming on the upcoming Fox half-hour series. But the story behind Cross’ casting is just as intriguing as it involves two actors, one second-position casting and one pesky Icelandic volcano.
Cross was the original choice to play Andy, the radical environmentalist fiancé of Arnett’s love interest Emmy (Keri Russell). But just as filming on the Lionsgate TV-produced pilot was underway in April, Cross got stuck in the UK when the country’s airspace was closed as air travel in Northern Europe was severely disrupted by the eruption of Iceland’s now-infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. With Cross certain to miss the shoot, actor Andrew Daly was approached to step in and do the role in the pilot. Daly had just wrapped another comedy pilot, NBC’s The Paul Reiser Show, where he was a regular, so for him Running Wilde would’ve been in second position at best.
Here is how Daly describes the events in a post on aspecialthing.com:
So Mitch Hurwitz & Will Arnett asked if I would
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