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Update: ‘Arrested Development’ Back on Netflix After 48 Hour Absence; Why Show Left, Why it Has Returned

David Satin

It looks as if 20th Century Studios has decided there’s always money in the banana sta- er, Netflix. “Arrested Development,” which left the world's largest streaming service on Wednesday, March 15 is now back on the service once again. There are no longer any warnings on the show’s splash page that say it is leaving Netflix on any date.

Netflix first announced that the show would be leaving in February. It notified users that March 15 would be their last day to enjoy it on their platform, which was especially confusing because Netflix was responsible for producing the last two seasons of the show.

Ultimate distribution rights to the series still reside with 20th Century Studios. The first three seasons aired on FOX from 2003 to 2006, but the streamer produced and aired Seasons 4 and 5 in 2013 and 2018-19 respectively. 20th Century’s deal with Netflix lapsed 10 years after the release of the show’s fourth season, so it seemed that this month would be the end of the series on the platform. However, that proved not to be true.

Disney now owns 20th Century Studios, which explains why Seasons 1-3 of the show are simultaneously available to stream on Hulu.

It now appears as though Netflix and 20th Century were able to hammer out a deal at the last minute. Perhaps a couple of days trying to shop the show around to other streamers convinced Disney that Netflix was the best home for it after all. It stands to reason that not many other streaming platforms would have interest in housing the first three seasons of the show if it had to share them with Hulu, whereas on Netflix there is still exclusive “Arrested Development” content that can’t be seen elsewhere.

Netflix users hoping the Fox comedy series “New Girl” might get a similar reprieve have gotten no such good news thus far. A new licensing deal will send that series to Hulu and Peacock on April 17, and its current splash page on Netflix still says it will leave that platform on April 9.

The difference between the two series is that “New Girl” already has its next licensing deal lined up, whereas “Arrested Development” did not. “Arrested Development” had already become a free agent, a show that was free to sign with any streaming service before realizing it was better off returning to Netflix. “New Girl” already has a signed contract to go elsewhere, which is why its departure from Netflix is highly unlikely to be reversed.

In the end, “Arrested Development’s” disappearing act on Netflix was shorter than one of Gob’s illusions. All five seasons of the show will remain there for the foreseeable future, but don’t expect a similar about-face decision in regards to “New Girl.” That show is still leaving the world’s largest streaming service on April 9.

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