The Bluths will return to TV in 2013, but they won't be returning to conventional television. And we don't actually know which Bluths. Or when they'll be returning.
announced on Friday (November 18) that 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine Television will produce first-run "Arrested Development" episodes for the subscription service.
The press release announcing the new home for the comedy that won Emmys and a devoted cult following in its three years on FOX is long on glowing statements from absolutely everybody involved but short on any sort of specifics.
"'Arrested Development' is one of the finest American comedies in TV history and its return through Netflix is a perfect example of how we are working closely with studios and networks to provide consumers with entertainment they love," states Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. "It's also a perfect example of how broad and successful our relationship has become with Fox as we work together with their film, television, international and digital divisions on several exciting initiatives."
Add 20th Century Fox TV Chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman, "We build brands at this studio which are so distinctive that audiences still clamor for them years after they go off the air. 'Arrested Development' is a great example of that—it has stood the test of time. This innovative deal with Netflix represents a new business model that is extremely exciting and opens the door for a wide range of new collaborations."
"Arrested Development" aired its last episode on FOX on February 10, 2006. Since that time, the media and several stars have kept alive the possibility that the franchise would be reborn as a feature film, though creator Mitch Hurwitz kept delaying the writing of the script with short-lived comedies like FOX's "Sit Down, Shut Up" and "Running Wilde." But earlier this year, Hurwitz and much of the cast announced plans to finally get to work on the film, but also to produce new "Arrested Development" episodes bridging the gap between the long hiatus and the future.
"Of all the projects we've been involved with over the years, we probably get more questions about Mitch Hurtwitz's brilliant 'Arrested Development' than any other-- everyone, ourselves included, seems to feel like the Bluths left the party a bit too soon," state Imagine Television's Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. "Bringing a series back from cancellation almost never happens, but then, 'Arrested' always was about as unconventional as they get, so it seems totally appropriate that this show that broke the mold is smashing it to pieces once again."
While it's rare for cancelled television shows to be resurrected, particularly after this long an absence, the 20th Century Fox TV chiefs have some experience with this.
"We also pride ourselves on breaking the rules at this studio, and after bringing back two canceled series -- 'Family Guy' and 'Futurama' -- to enormous success, we are bullish on the prospects for this brilliant series. We can't wait to get back to work with Mitch, Ron and Brian on bringing the Bluths back to America's living rooms," Walden and Newman state.
Want one last statement from the Netflix press release?
"Netflix's bold entrance into original programming presents an exciting new opportunity for our two companies" blurbs Peter Levinsohn, Fox Filmed Entertainment's President of New Media & Digital Distribution. "Bringing a classic show back to production on new episodes exclusively for Netflix customers is a game changer, and illustrates the incredible potential the new digital landscape affords great content providers like Twentieth Century Fox Television and Imagine."
Yup. The release has lots of quotes.
What it doesn't have is any sort of reference to when the episodes will begin production, when they'll air (other than 2013), how many episodes there will be or which stars (possibly all) will be participating in the episodes.
But who needs that sort of information when you can just say, "'Arrested Development' is coming back! And it'll be on Netflix!"
So for now, we'll take the news at that. When we have more information, we'll pass it along.