Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos is a freakin’ boss. The Hollywood dealmaker has been instrumental in Netflix’s incredible success with original programming, and today he was on hand to field questions from several different panels at the Television Critics Association. In fact, Deadline claims Netflix’s 11 panels today represent more than any other network in attendance — not too shabby for a service that has only been in the content game for a couple of years.
Among a wide field of questions, the Sarandos addressed new rumors that the Olsen Twins could still acquiesce to becoming a part of the (for some reason) highly-anticipated sequel to Full House, aptly named Fuller House.
“The Olsens are teetering whether they would be around,” Sarandos told the crowd, according to Deadline.
The two fashion moguls are the lone holdouts in an all-out Full House reunion that has gotten an uncanny amount of press and attention. Audiences apparently can’t wait to see Danny Tanner (Bog Saget), Uncles Jessy (Jon Stamos) and Joey (Dave Coulier), DJ (Candace Cameron-Bure), Steph (Jodie Sweeten), and even annoying next-door neighbor, Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) back together again. The Olsen Twins reprising their shared role as Michelle would complete the Full House circle, as it were.
In addition, Sarandos gave some guarded hints about the much-anticipated Arrested Development Season 5, which is still on track, though it appears that no one is sure when it will come to fruition. Putting the pieces together for the fourth season included separate shoots to accommodate actors’ schedules, and some blame that disjointed storyline for a finished product that didn’t quite live up to expectations. It appears the same issues may be in play for Season 5.
“We are plugging along. It’s a long complex deal to make, talent is very busy,” Sarandos told Deadline, adding that “negotiations are underway.”
In addition, Sarandos addressed Adam Sandler, with whom the streaming service famously inked a four-picture deal that will begin with a diverse cast of characters (from Nick Nolte to Taylor Lautner) in the film The Ridiculous Six. Sandler has been getting hammered in the press following his most recent critical flop, Pixels, including an op-ed from Variety entitled Adam Sandler: 5 Reasons He’s No Longer a Movie star. Harsh.
“I don’t feel I have to defend Adam Sandler,” Sarandos told the audience, according to Variety. “We did our deal with Adam Sandler because he is an enormous international movie star. We are as encouraged as ever.”
Sarandos also spoke about Netflix’s focused push for original content, which grew from two series in 2013 to what The Hollywood Reporter has claimed amounts to 475 hours of original programming, including multiple comedies and dramas, documentaries, comedy specials, and kids show, all in about two years time.
Apart from legitimizing Netflix as a network in its own right, Sarandos claims that major factors for creating original content include building more exclusivity for the service than, say, Hulu’s $180 Million deal for Seinfeld, which can still be accessed on multiple outlets like TBS and Crackle.
In addition, owning its own programming lets Netflix move more deftly into international waters, unfettered by complex licensing agreements. With a plan to land in 200 countries by 2016, expansion abroad is a major part of Netflix’s road map, and, in part, accounts for the service’s red-hot stock rise as of late. When asked about the challenge of creating programming that appeals to other cultures, such as Japan, Sarandos showed confidence.
“I’m not fully convinced that the Japanese have radically different taste than the rest of the world,” Sarandos told Variety.
As Netflix continues to push into new territories, leadership appears confident in the future, sketching out a wide horizon of possibilities. We’ll have to wait and see how things unfold as Netflix attempts to expand from regional favorite to global powerhouse — but the plan has worked out pretty well so far.
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