The finale of NBC’s Good Girls is a disaster to the fans. After four seasons on NBC, the popular but under-watched linear drama series has been canceled. Attempts to shift the series to Netflix — which serves as the series’ online home following a worldwide rights agreement — have failed, and the series will not be made available on the streaming giant as an original series for season five.
The drama from Jenna Bans and Universal Television will continue to run on NBC for the next five episodes. According to sources, NBC and its in-house studio, Universal Television, intended to renew the series for a fifth — and final — season but were unable to reach a financial arrangement that would have enabled them to do so.
Good Girls, starring Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman, and Retta as friends who become entangled in a criminal operation, was picked up by Netflix before it premiered on NBC as part of a new economic model devised by the streamer’s then-VP content Bela Bajaria. Because Netflix had previously obtained both worldwide and SVOD rights, the move helped cover the series’ expenses, but it also limited the ways in which producers of Universal Television could benefit more.
The approach made sense at the time for shows like Good Girls, The CW’s Dynasty, and Syfy’s now-canceled Nightflyers, because early sales to Netflix helped alleviate the financial load of expensive original written series. However, in an era when every major media conglomerate has its own streaming platform, such a framework prevents a show like Good Girls from being moved to NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform.
Good Girls has a history of being a linear flop. When seven days of delayed watching were factored in, the drama’s fourth season averaged just 0.7 in the all-important advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, down almost 22% year over year, and 2.74 million total viewers (down nearly 20%). After its release on Netflix, Season 3 topped Nielsen’s streaming rankings. Season three’s linear audience had more than quadrupled owing to in-season streaming on Disney’s Hulu and NBC’s digital channels.
After former NBC co-president of scripted Tracey Pakosta — who renewed the programme many times during her tenure at the network — left to become head of comedy at Netflix, reporting to Bajaria, who is now vp global television, the effort to shift the series to Netflix failed. One element that may have stymied the show’s move would have been Universal TV’s request that Netflix cover more of the series’ production costs.
When it comes to resurrecting canceled broadcast shows, Bajaria, who was also the previous head of Universal TV’s Good Girls division, has continued to be more cautious. Following the release of the second season of NBC’s Warner Bros. TV-produced Manifest on Netflix, the streaming service decided not to renew the series. Although that statistic is based on only two minutes of viewing, the series is presently among Netflix’s top ten titles in the United States.
Netflix regularly took up broadcast leftovers during Cindy Holland’s tenure, including ABC’s Designated Survivor, Fox’s Lucifer, and NBC’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the latter of which was picked up straight to series before moving to Netflix as an original. Other cable series that have been salvaged by Netflix include Lifetime’s You, AMC’s The Killing, and A&E’s Longmire, among others. The streamer has also become a destination for studios to pick up pilots that have been passed over by broadcast networks, such as Insatiable, which was picked up after The CW passed on it. The streaming behemoth is also rolling the tires on a handful of canceled broadcast pilots from the previous season.
Good Girls was the final televised bubble series awaiting a decision on its fate. The cast’s options were set to expire at the end of the month, leading NBC and Universal TV to terminate the season before it finished broadcasting.
According to a new executive structure helmed by Susan Rovner and Frances Berwick (who also manage entertainment content for the company’s cable networks and streaming service Peacock), all of NBC’s bubble series has been canceled. In the castoff category, Good Girls joins Manifest, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, and Debris. NBC is developing new dramas La Brea, Ordinary Joe, and the limited series The Thing About Pam for the 2021-22 season, with several pilots still in the running. As Rovner and Berwick plan NBC’s midseason lineup, further series orders are likely. The Blacklist, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (for a final season), Chicago Fire, This Is Us (also for a final season), Kenan, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Mr. Mayor, and Young Rock are among the NBC scripted originals set to return, with Law & Order: For the Defense set to premiere in 2022-23.
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