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article imageNetflix to revive cult sitcom 'Arrested Development' in 2013

By Jeff Cottrill     Nov 20, 2011 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - Cancellation doesn't always mean death for a TV series. At least, not if the series has a large enough fan base, like Arrested Development.
Gilligan's Island, for one, returned briefly in the late '70s and early '80s with a few TV movies. So did The Brady Bunch. In more recent years, the Fox Network has brought back animated staples Futurama and Family Guy based on popular demand and high DVD sales. Now, another beloved yet under-performing Fox sitcom is getting new life – on Netflix.
The online video-streaming service has confirmed an agreement with 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Entertainment that will revive Arrested Development in early 2013, Variety reported on Friday. The series originally ran for 53 episodes from 2003 to 2006, winning six Emmy Awards and mountains of critical acclaim in the process, but the network axed it due to low ratings.
Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, but Netflix reportedly won a bidding war that included U.S. pay-TV network Showtime.
“Bringing a series back from cancellation almost never happens,” producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer said in a press statement, “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.
“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.”
Created by Mitchell Hurwitz and starring Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera and Jeffrey Tambor, Arrested Development chronicles the “riches to rags” story of the Bluths, a once-prosperous but very dysfunctional family that owns a failing real-estate corporation. The series was shot with handheld cameras, reality-TV-style, and included cutaway gags, archival footage and uncredited narration by Howard.
Arrested Development is one of the finest American comedies in TV history,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix's Chief Content Officer, told Variety, “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.”
News of a likely Arrested resurrection surfaced on October 2, at a cast reunion at the New Yorker Festival in New York City, where Hurwitz announced his intention to make a truncated fourth season of the series. The plan was to shoot nine or ten episodes, each one focusing on a single character, to lead into the long-rumoured Arrested movie.
Bateman, who plays protagonist (and relative straight man) Michael Bluth, tweeted his enthusiasm on Friday, referring to his character's choice of leg-wear: “Netflix is gassing up the staircar! I don't think I've ever been happier to wear a pair of khakis.”
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