Time now for another perspective on a not-so-little series called You, which not only has become a streaming TV giant, it also catapulted last week’s TVWriter™ article called From the Cable Graveyard to Netflix Darling: Something Amazing Happened to ‘YOU’ to the top of our list of visitors’ fave posts.
Here’s the skinny:
What Made the TV Show ‘You’ a Hit?’ Netflix
by John Koblin
Throughout the fall, the producer Greg Berlanti was trying to save his cable drama “You.”
The series had premiered on Lifetime in September, but its viewership was virtually nonexistent: roughly 650,000 people were tuning in to each episode of the soapy stalker thriller, starring Penn Badgley. Even Mr. Berlanti, one of the most successful and prolific producers in television thanks to shows like “Riverdale,” “Arrow” and “Blindspot,” conceded in an interview that “barely anybody watched” it.
He made repeated calls to Lifetime executives, asking for patience and making his case for a second season. It wasn’t enough. In early December, Lifetime announced it was finished with “You.”
But right after Christmas, something happened. “You” started lighting up social media. People were searching for it online. Entertainment sites like The Ringer were writing about the show.
What changed? It began streaming on Netflix.
Mr. Berlanti heard from family and friends about how much they were enjoying his new show, ignoring the fact that it had debuted months earlier.
Last week, Netflix declared “You” had drawn the sort of audience to make it a “huge hit.” The streaming service said that “You” was on track to be watched by 40 million households within its first four weeks on the service.
Could the numbers be believed? Could it be possible that a show that premiered on cable television may as well not have existed until Netflix — which now has 139 million paying subscribers, including 58.5 million in the United States — came around to stream it? Netflix is already a television network and a movie studio. Was it one step closer to effectively becoming television itself…?