The metrics behind how Netflix decides whether to renew or cancel a show remain elusive. But Cindy Holland, Netflix’s vice president of original series, gave reporters on Sunday a touch of insight into the streaming giant’s decision-making process.
The most important thing in renewing a series, she said at the Television Critics Association press tour, is “Are we getting enough viewership to justify the cost of series?” Beyond that, Netflix will look at “how beloved the fan community is, how social the title is, and there are a lot of other things we look at that you all can see in the world.
“We are deliberate and thoughtful and there are a lot of things that go into the decision,” she added.
As for timetables, Holland said Netflix doesn’t have a specific urgency in when to renew a show — which is why “GLOW” came to Netflix to promote Season 2, yet hasn’t yet been given a Season 3 nod. “We generally have some number of months after a season launches to start to evaluate the data and figure it out,” she said.
As for cancellations, Holland was asked specifically about “Everything Sucks,” which wasn’t renewed after one season — despite plenty of initial attention on the show.
“I’m really passionate about the show myself,” Holland said. “We take the cancellation decisions as personally as anybody, frankly, because we’ve all worked so hard and are so invested alongside the creators and the show.”
But in the case of “Everything Sucks,” it came down to how many people binged it to the end. “It had a passionate and good audience coming in, but what we were finding is there were far fewer people than average who were completing the season,” Holland said. “So when we looked at what it would take, how many viewers we need to be successful for Season 2, we found that the audience size wasn’t there.”
Holland made several announcements on Sunday, but also came with a specific message about the streamer’s desire to continue to broaden its slate and program to “underserved audiences.” That included a new series, “Madam C.J. Walker,” starring Octavia Spencer.
“We spent years crafting and implementing strategy to champion voices that resonate to those audiences here and around the world, beginning with ‘Orange Is the New Black,'” she said. “The continued investment has resulted in high-quality series like ‘Dear White People,’ ‘On My Block,’ ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ ‘GLOW,’ and our limited series ‘Seven Seconds’ with Emmy-nominated Regina King, to name a few.”
Diverse shows set for the new year include the reboot of British series “Top Boy,” from executive producers Drake, Future and Springhill Entertainment; the child superhero drama “Raising Dion,” from executive producers Michael B. Jordan and Charles King; “Turn Up Charlie,” from executive producer and star Idris Elba; and “Central Park Five,” a limited series created and directed by Ava DuVernay.
“We’re only getting started, but our goal is for the label of ‘diverse content’ to become obsolete,” Holland said. There will only be great content reflecting all communities around the world.”
Meanwhile, there was plenty that Holland didn’t want to talk about — including an expected overall deal with “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, who recently departed ABC Studios.