Netflix to become a traditional TV producer in new ‘Killing’ deal?

Months after it was initially raised as a possibility, it turns out that Netflix is nearing a deal with AMC to keep the critically divisive The Killing alive – but in such a way that suggests that the DVD-lending, content-streaming giant is looking to move into more traditional studio waters.

According to a report on Deadline: Hollywood, Netflix is nearing a deal with AMC and Fox TV Studios for a third season of Veena Sud’s American remake of the Danish series Forbrydelsen that will see the company share production costs butnot receive any form of exclusivity of debut for the content (The original rumors for the deal back in August suggested that Netflix was looking to secure exclusive first use rights for any new episodes produced, with an eye to the series then being aired on AMC at some undefined later point, similar to the deal worked out between DirecTV and NBC for the latter seasons ofFriday Night Lights). Instead, AMC is expected to premiere the episodes with the season being added to Netflix upon broadcast completion.

According to Deadline, two things made the deal more attractive to all parties involved. Firstly, executive producer and showrunner Sud had what was described as “a strong third-season pitch” for the show, which may allow it to relaunch itself following the second season conclusion of the long-running “Rosie Larson” case and give new viewers a chance to start the show without fear of missing backstory, and secondly, Fox TV already had all actors contractually locked into a third season, keeping costs down while also ensuring that break-out stars Joel Kinnaman (Soon to be see as the new Robocop) and Mireille Enos attached.

What’s surprising about this deal is the lack of “get” for Netflix; previously, when the company has made forays towards funding or producing original content, it has done so because it would get “first dibs” on the result (See its deals for Lilyhammer, or the currently in-production new season of Arrested Development, not to mention the American remake of British political drama House of Cards). Instead, this deal appears to simply give Netflix after-the-fact rights to stream the show, in a way that isn’t significantly different for viewers or subscribers from the way that other television series get handled. Obviously, there is the differentiator of the fact that Netflix will (co-)own the third Killing season and therefore won’t have to worry about paying licensing fees or the possibility of the content being pulled away from it should relationships sour with the rights-holders, but nonetheless; is that enough of a gain that Netflix should move into a position more traditionally taken by studios or financial backers for the first time?

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