In January, FX Networks President and CEO John Landgraf described losing two bidding wars to Netflix because of the streaming service’s “shock-and-awe levels of money and commitment.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos appear to have adopted that phrase as a company motto: The service renewed Lionsgate-produced prison drama “Orange Is the New Black” for an unheard-of three more seasons on Friday morning. Not only that, but current showrunner Jenji Kohan will stay onboard for the duration.
That will bring the total number of seasons of “Orange” up to seven, and promises to sate fans all the way through 2017. Season 4 premieres Friday, June 17. Subsequent seasons will roll out around the same time annually.
“Three more years! Not quite a political term, but still plenty of time to do some interesting things. In some cultures, ‘May you lead an interesting life,’ is a curse, but I don't live in those cultures,” Kohan said in a statement. “Here's to keeping it interesting.”
A common complaint from TV fanatics is that networks are bloodthirsty and love to cancel shows before their time. The outcry for more “Firefly,” a sci-fi series that ran for 14 episodes on Fox from 2002-2003, still haunts the internet. Cable networks have taken to renewing shows for second seasons before they even premiere, or ordering up two seasons at once. Even broadcast networks are starting to officially renew shows far earlier than usual, to encourage audiences to stick around.
But a three-season commitment for an hour-long drama that is already about to premiere its fourth season does indeed inspire shock and awe. FX gave multi-season renewals to comedies “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Archer” in 2014, but it was for two seasons (bringing their totals up to 12 and seven, respectively).
Netflix can do this, in part, because it doesn’t have nearly as much to lose as a traditional network if the show hemorrhages viewers. As long as subscriber numbers keep growing, there’s really no downside for them.
That doesn’t mean you can expect traditional networks to follow suit. Sorry, “Person of Interest” fans.