Netflix has made a few surprising announcements over the past few weeks, with the streaming service cancelling two beloved shows, Sense8 after just two seasons and The Get Down after two seasons. Since both shows had strong fan bases, the move surprised many, although over the weekend Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos defending the cancellations. Here's what the executive had to say during an appearance at the PGA's Produced By conference Saturday on the 20th Century Fox lot
"Relative to what you spent, are people watching it? That is pretty traditional. When I say that, a big expensive show for a huge audience is great. A big, expensive show for a tiny audience is hard even in our model to make that work very long."
Variety reports that both shows were among the most expensive produced in all of television. The Get Down was produced for a whopping $12 million per episode, while Sense8 reportedly cost $9 million per episode. Netflix doesn't release viewership data, so it isn't known how many people watched both shows. Ted Sarandos also addressed comments made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last month, where he revealed that the streaming service doesn't cancel enough of its shows. Here's what he had to say below.
"Not to put words in his mouth, but what he meant was that Silicon Valley celebrates failure. It's one of those things that you know you're pushing the envelope if every once in a while you fall. And you go back and start over again. If you have hit after hit after hit, you question yourself - are you trying hard enough? Are you too conventional?"
On the movie side, Ted Sarandos also addressed the controversy over the streaming service movies such as Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, which debuted at Cannes although several people thought that any movie that won't play in theaters shouldn't debut at Cannes, which lead to a change in the rules for next year, that essentially prohibit streaming movies from debuting at the festival. Here's what he had to say, defending these Netflix movies premiering at Cannes.
"A film festival is meant to celebrate the art of filmmaking. A lot of the things that you see at a film festival have no commercial viability at all. That really is the role of a film festival. It's not even an independent selection process if they stand by that rule. If it ceases to be about the celebration of film and filmmaking, I don't think it can continue to be that relevant."
The Get Down was a hip-hop series created by Baz Luhrmann that explored the rise of hip-hop in New York in the early 1980s. Sense8 was created by Lily and Lana Wachowski, centering on eight strangers from around the world who are connected to one another in intriguing ways. It doesn't seem that either show will be shopped around to different networks or streaming services, and it isn't known if Netflix plans on cancelling even more of their shows.