Un-Binged: Netflix Modifies Releases for 'The Circle,' 'Too Hot to Handle'

The Circle Still 3 - SEASON 1- Netflix Publicity-H 2020
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix is un-bingeing a couple of its unscripted series.

The streamer has set an April premiere date for the second season of The Circle, and season two of Too Hot to Handle will follow in June. Rather than the usual all-at-once release, however, Netflix will roll each show out over several weeks.

"We're experimenting with the release format so you have time to dissect and dish on every step of the competition as it unfolds," Brandon Riegg, vp unscripted and documentary series at Netflix, said in a blog post announcing the modified releases.

The Circle will debut April 14 with four episodes, with an additional batch of episodes on April 21 and 28, followed by the season finale on May 5. That's similar to its first season, which dropped in three weekly batches of four episodes each. Season two will add a fourth week just for the finale.

Too Hot to Handle will unfold over several weeks in June, though its exact premiere date and release schedule have yet to be determined.

Netflix has rarely deviated from its binge release schedule for series, with music competition Rhythm + Flow and The Great British Baking Show — which Netflix runs in the United States a few days after it airs on Channel 4 in the U.K. — the most notable exceptions.

Other platforms, however, have been more flexible with their release patterns: Disney+ has followed a traditional weekly schedule for shows like The Mandalorian and WandaVision, and Paramount+ does the same with its Star Trek series. Apple TV+ has also largely followed a weekly rollout, while Hulu and HBO Max vary their releases show to show.

For well-known properties, at least, the varied strategy has paid dividends. All-at-once Netflix shows like The Crown and and Bridgerton tend to finish at the top of Nielsen's streaming rankings for originals soon after their release, but The Mandalorian and WandaVision have both had long runs in the top 10 on the back of their weekly episode debuts.

The Circle comes from Studio Lambert and Motion Content Group. Stephen Lambert, Tim Harcourt, Jo Harcourt Smith, and Toni Ireland executive produce for Studio Lambert along with Richard Foster and Chet Fenster for Motion Content Group.

Fremantle's Thames Productions and Talkback produce Too Hot to Handle, with Amelia Brown, Saul Fearnley and Ros Coward exec producing for Thames and Jonno Richards for Talkback. Laura Gibson and Charlie Bennett developed the show.