In addition to developing its own incredibly successful original series like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, Netflix has also made a habit of either reviving long-dead shows (Arrested Development) or acquiring final seasons of soon-to-be-canceled/recently canceled series (Longmire, The Killing). Now the network is adding a different kind of resurrection to its repertoire, as it has rescued a pilot from a major network. NBC has been developing the comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for some time, and it’s been of interest because it was the first show that 30 Rock creator Tina Fey and co-showrunner Robert Carlock developed after the end of that excellent series. A pilot was shot and it was ordered straight-to-series, but NBC had yet to put it on either its fall or midseason schedule for this year, leading many (including myself) to wonder what had happened.
Well now it turns out that NBC has found a way to sort of pass on the series while also not killing it completely, as Netflix has made a two-season commitment to acquire the show. More after the jump.
It was announced yesterday that Netflix has picked up two seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, with the 13-episode first season set to debut in March 2015. The show stars The Office alum Ellie Kemper as a woman who, after living in a cult for fifteen years, decides to reclaim her life and start over in New York City. The cast also includes 30 Rock star Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess. NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt had this to say about the move:
“When the opportunity arose for Tina Fey and Robert Carlock to premiere their new show on Netflix with a two-season commitment, we decided this was the best possible scenario to launch this captivating new series. While it was originally developed for NBC, we have a very drama-heavy mid-season schedule so we’re thrilled about this Netflix opportunity.”
It’s funny that Greenblatt seemingly cites NBC’s lack of a sitcom lineup as its reason for passing on Kimmy Schmidt. Indeed, the network has had trouble launching a new successful comedy series, though Marry Me (from Happy Endings creator David Caspe) is showing real promise. Moreover, Kimmy Schmidt is apparently even more offbeat than 30 Rock, so it may have been a rather tough sell for the network without a strong lead-in.
Fey and Carlock will continue to develop other content for NBC, though Fey’s film career seems to be becoming more of a focus. She recently wrapped the comedy The Nest opposite Amy Poehler and she’s next set to star in and produce the dramedy The Taliban Shuffle opposite Margot Robbie.
As a massive fan of the overall weird nature of 30 Rock, I’m happy to see that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will still see the light of day, and I look forward to binge-watching the first season next spring.