Here's the deal on Netflix. We ran into chief content officer Ted Sarandos last night at a Sundance Institute benefit, and he made it clear that the David Fincher $100-million investment in "House of Cards" sent a signal that it was OK for anyone to jump on board a Netflix production. If it was good enough for Fincher... But the company isn't going to spend those dollars every time out--if ever again.
Sarandos was a tad peeved that the New York Times jumped all over "Arrested Development" based on the first 8 episodes out of 14. (They didn't send out advance screeners because they weren't ready.) That's interesting, because while Netflix has changed viewing options so that you can binge on an entire series, that means they've also thrown out the one-week-at-a-time rules of reviewing. I'd say you can't have it both ways.
As for not taking the Viacom deal that went to Amazon, Sarandos explained that Netflix wants to "curate," pick and choose the programming they want to share with their subscribers, not take one-size-fits-all options. In other words, Viacom is still catering to their cable partners. (More Sarandos details are in THR's cover story.)
The original Netflix series that Sarandos is high on next: "Orange is the New Black." Check out the first trailer below.
The series stars Taylor Schilling ("The Lucky One") as a Brooklynite whose life of yuppie perfection gets a serious wakeup call when she has to do time in a women's federal prison. Jason Biggs plays Schilling's patiently long-suffering fiance, and Laura Prepon is the lesbian ex-girlfriend who long ago convinced Schilling to do a one-time drug run. The series, which is based on Piper Kerman's memoir of the same name, looks to be a dramedy, with the bleak aspects of prison life highlighted but also the humorous culture clashes of the inmates. Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Pablo Schreiber, Michelle Hurst, Danielle Brooks, Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox and Taryn Manning head up the largely female supporting cast.
"Orange is the New Black" debuts all 13 episodes on July 11.