Hear that? That’s the sound of another big-time producer jumping ship and swimming to the warm and welcoming waters of Netflix. The streaming service is making good on its promise to up its original content, a staggering 700 original series in 2018 (hey, dream big), and that means finding the creators to help make this happen. Naturally, this does not come for free or cheap, and Netflix will reportedly shell out about $8 billion on content for the year.
This is a pretty sweet deal for anyone, much less a producer who’s been around and weathered the many broadcast and cable changes. Thus, one by one, producers with longtime deals with networks, those who have gone into retirement, or fresh comedic voices who are tapped into the zeitgeist have been lured by Netflix’s siren song: big bucks, plentiful prestige, and nigh unlimited creative freedom.
Check out our ongoing gallery to see who the latest person is to Netflix and fill their coffers.
The senior correspondent from “The Daily Show” has had been riding the wave in the past year. He hosted the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner and debuted his first stand-up comedy special “Homecoming King” on Netflix that May. Apparently he liked it so much (and the feeling was mutual) that he will now host his own weekly talk show on the streaming service that will debut later in 2018.
According to the description, “Minhaj’s comedy show will explore the modern cultural and political landscape with depth and sincerity. Each week, Minhaj will bring his unique comedic voice and storytelling skill to investigate the larger trends shaping our fragmented world.”
He’s committed to a whopping 32-episode order, which is a great vote of confidence. This will make Minhaj the first Indian-American host of a weekly comedy talk show. He will also serve as executive producer.
The uber producer known for “Glee” and recent hit “911” on FOX, not to mention his prestige projects on FX ranging from “American Crime Story,” “American Horror Story,” and “Feud,” is leaving the warm embrace of 20th Century Fox after his contract expires in July 2018. He’s signed with Netflix for a five-year deal for a cool $300 million.
Shondaland is relocating. The mega-producer of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” is leaving ABC Studios for Netflix’s greener streaming pastures for a multi-year deal. It’s seen as a blow to Disney/ABC, but also to commercial television. Known for creating appointment television (TGIT, y’all), Rhimes’ departure will shake the already unsteady foundations of broadcast TV.
While technically not known as a producer, we thought it prudent to include the “Girls Trip” and “Carmichael Show” star because anyone who’s paying attention – like superfan and “Phantom Thread” director Paul Thomas Anderson – that she is a big deal.
In a series of tweets, Haddish revealed she has a deal with Netflix that isn’t “legend money but its enough to take care of my family for min. #Facts,” the comedian tweeted.
While specific details of the deal aren’t known, one of her projects with the streamer delighted fans of “BoJack Horseman.” Netflix has added to its animation slate with a series order for “Tuca & Bertie,” in which Haddish will voice Tuca. The animated series is a comedy about the friendship between two 30-year-old bird women who live in the same apartment building: Tuca, a cocky, care-free toucan, and Bertie, an anxious, daydreaming songbird. “Bojack’s” Lisa Hanawalkt created the series, which will have 10 episodes in its first season.
The longtime late-night talk show host had retired from behind the “Late Show” desk in 2015, but with the election of Donald Trump as President, Letterman just couldn’t seem to stay idle for long. He participated in roasts and documentaries, and eventually got in bed with Netflix to host a six-episode series of hour-long interview programs called “ My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.” It also probably helped that they let him keep the post-retirement beard.
Perhaps emboldened by their success with other brothers – “Stranger Things” creators the Duffer Brothers – Netflix sought out another pair of sibs. The Duplass Brothers, darlings of the indie film world, have been everywhere in the past few years.
Besides producing “The Skeleton Twins,” HBO’s “Togetherness” and the anthology series “Room 104,” they also work separately as performers. Jay Duplass has co-starred in “Transparent” since its debut, while Mark Duplass recently starred as David Kaczynski in “Manhunt: Unabomber.” They’ve both provided voices for HBO’s “Animals,” which they produce.
The Duplasses have signed a four-film deal with Netflix, and their first project is the “Untitled Duplass Brothers Ray Romano Project,” which is described as “a bittersweet bromance about friendship, mortality, and made-up sports.”
First, it began with the Emmy-nominated “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Arguably Crackle’s most recognizable programming (even if you’ve never heard of Crackle), Netflix swooped in and took over Jerry Seinfeld’s series that’s only a little bit more complex than the title would imply. As described, Seinfeld would host various comedians (including known funnyman President Obama) and take an excursion in a vintage car, during which the two would have a free-ranging and hopefully entertaining conversation.
“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’s” move to Netflix was part of an exclusive comedy deal he had signed with the streaming service. The back catalog, in addition to 24 new episodes, would go to Netflix, in addition to two new Seinfeld stand-up specials, and the development of scripted and non-scripted comedy programming for Netflix. The first special is “Jerry Before Seinfeld.”
READ MORE: Ted Sarandos, Jerry Seinfeld, and 10 Ways Netflix Blew Up the Entertainment Business
The “Orange Is the New Black” creator and “GLOW” executive producer didn’t go anywhere, but Netflix sweetened the pot to make sure she doesn’t stray. In November 2017, she signed an exclusive multi-year deal to produce new original series and other projects for the streaming service.
“Bold, outspoken and totally fearless, Jenji has constantly raised the bar for storytelling at Netflix,” said Cindy Holland, VP of Original Content at Netflix. “She possesses a rare and special talent to say what’s unspoken, choose the unexpected over the safe and drive the cultural conversation – and audiences love her for it. She has been with us from the beginning and we could not be more thrilled to continue working together over the coming years.”
Said Kohan, “Current climate aside, it’s great to be in bed with Netflix.”
The other guy who helped “Stranger Things” become a hit is mega-producer Shawn Levy, whom Netflix locked in recently with an exclusive multi-year pact. His resume includes credits on family-friendly series like “The Famous Jett Jackson” and “Last Man Standing,” to films such as the “Night at the Museum” franchise.
“I don’t know any other company that would have taken a chance on a show about kids and inter-dimensional monsters, created by young unknown twin brothers and produced by a movie director’s production company. Netflix did, and they bet big, and it’s been truly thrilling to take this wild ride with such exceptional partners,” Levy said. “My aspiration for 21 Laps has always been to create content that is eclectic, bold, humanist and surprising. As such, Netflix is the perfect home for us and our collaborators.”