‘BoJack’ Creator Calls Out Netflix’s Changing Business Model: ‘It’s a Shame’

Raphael Bob-Waksberg says the cancelled "Tuca and Bertie" was not given a chance to find an audience like "BoJack" was in 2014.
BoJack Horseman Netflix
"BoJack Horseman "

BoJack Horseman” was hardly a breakout hit when it debuted on Netflix in August 2014. Five years later, the animated comedy-drama is one of the most beloved and best reviewed television programs of the decade. How did “BoJack” become one of Netflix’s defining series? A major reason is that Netflix gave “BoJack” the necessary time to build an audience through binge-watching. It’s a luxury that was taken away earlier this year from “Tuca and Bertie,” which was created by “BoJack” producer and designer Lisa Hanawalt.

“Tuca and Bertie,” featuring the voices of Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong, debuted May 3 on Netflix to some of the best reviews of the year. IndieWire flat out named the show the best new series of the year, but like “BoJack Horseman” Season 1 it was not a breakout viral hit. The streaming giant pulled the plug on “Tuca and Bertie” in July. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, “BoJack” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg didn’t hold back when asked to weigh in on Netflix axing “Tuca and Bertie.” Bob-Waksberg took Netflix to task for changing up its business model and no longer giving shows the same treatment that turned “BoJack” into a streaming classic.

“When we started on ‘BoJack,’ it was understood that the Netflix model was to give shows time to find an audience, and to build that audience,” Bob-Waksberg said. “I remember being told, ‘We expect the biggest day ‘BoJack’ Season 1 is going to have is when we launch ‘BoJack’ Season 2.’ We didn’t get a full two-season pickup, but that was the understanding, that these things take time to build. It was my understanding that that was, at the time, the Netflix model: to give shows time to build. I think it’s a shame that they seem to have moved away from that model.”

Bob-Waksberg’s Netflix diss to the LA Times comes on the heels of his revelation to Vulture that he would’ve kept “BoJack Horseman” alive for a “couple more years” had Netflix not pulled the plug on the series. While the creator was thankful he got a heads up in advance that his show’s sixth season would be its last, he wasn’t planning on ending it so soon. The first half of “BoJack’s” final season is now streaming, with the final eight episodes set to debut in January.

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