Netflix has landed its first deal with a major Hollywood studio for a new TV series. Beginning next year, Sony Pictures Television — the production company behind titles like Breaking Bad and The Shield — will begin working on a psychological thriller created by the trio behind Damages, which airs on FX. The show is currently untitled, but Netflix says that it'll be a suspenseful drama between several siblings, the events of which get kicked off when their "black sheep" brother returns home. The show's 13-episode first season will premiere exclusively on Netflix in every region that it operates.
One big deal could help Netflix get more
Though the new series could end up as another strong card in Netflix's growing hand of quality shows, its deal with Sony could be even more important. The Wall Street Journal reports that, aside from Arrested Development, all of Netflix's previous series were either distribution deals — like with Lilyhammer and Derek — or created by smaller or independent studios. And though Arrested Development was produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television, it wasn't a new series, having already run for three seasons on Fox's own network. But now that Netflix has sealed its first new series deal with a major studio, future ventures could be easier to nail down since it'll be clear how its big deals work and what they're capable of.
However the deal seems to come after Netflix missed out on another Sony show that it was reported to be eyeing: the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul. Even if it missed out on what's sure to be one of the most anticipated upcoming series, the Journal notes that the deal that Netflix did manage to make is a somewhat unusual one. Studios usually sell US and international rights separately, while Netflix is getting a chunk of the latter category — and not solely the US rights.
"We're willing to do different things and bet on the future," Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, tells the Journal. "It's a challenge to show a major studio can be in business with one of these services." It may be a riskier than usual bet for Sony, which would likely have had little trouble finding a traditional network to air its show. But Netflix has proven that it's serious about original series, and House of Cards' Emmy wins certainly can't hurt big studio's respect for its growing platform.