9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Cobra Kai' Moves to Netflix as YouTube Officially Out of Scripted
Cobra Kai has found its new home.
With YouTube now officially out of the scripted space, Netflix has acquired the first three seasons of the Karate Kid sequel starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. The first two seasons, which aired on YouTube in 2018 and 2019, will make their debut on Netflix later this year. The third season of the drama from Sony Pictures Television will premiere on Netflix at a date to be determined. YouTube had previously picked up the comedy for a third season before changing its business model from a subscription to an ad-supported platform.
With Cobra Kai's move to Netflix now completed, YouTube is officially out of the scripted business. Cobra Kai is the third YouTube scripted original to find a new home amid its shift away from the pricey genre. Starz last month picked up Lionsgate-produced Step Up, while fellow premium cable network Showtime added Sony-produced On Becoming a God in Central Florida.
It's also worth noting that when Cobra Kai was originally taken out with both Macchio and Zabka attached, Netflix and Hulu, among others, were among the bidders. The show ultimately landed at YouTube Red as part of Susanne Daniels' efforts to age up the platform's demographic from 18-34 to the more advertiser-coveted 18-49 set.
"The appeal of the Karate Kid saga is timeless, and Cobra Kai picks up right where it left off without missing a beat," said Brian Wright, Netflix vp originals. "The rivalry between Daniel and Johnny is one for the ages, and the show has a ton of heart and is a lot of fun. We can't wait to introduce a new generation of fans to Cobra Kai and are thrilled to be its new home around the world."
Cobra Kai landed at Netflix after YouTube informed Sony TV that it had no plans to pursue a fourth season amid its shift to unscripted fare. When the indie studio then shopped the series, it again drew interest from Disney-owned Hulu. Other outlets were said to have kicked the tires on the series as such "gently used" programming remains of interest to broadcast, cable and streaming outlets alike given the uncertainty around when production can resume amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Sony also sold the first two seasons of Spectrum's L.A.'s Finest to Fox, which slotted the Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba drama on its fall schedule, for example.)
Cobra Kai, which sees Macchio and Zabka reprise their beloved roles as Daniel and Johnny, respectively, is created by exec producers Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
"We are so proud of Cobra Kai and are overwhelmed by the massive fan response to the series. Josh, Jon, Hayden, Ralph, William and the entire cast have done such a brilliant job with this sensational series and the huge audience reaction and sentiment for it is a testament to that," said Sony TV president Jeff Frost. "We are very thankful to our partners at Netflix and couldn’t be more elated that they have become the new home for this epic saga."
Cobra Kai launched strong out of the gate on YouTube. The streamer said the pilot had already surpassed 20 million views less than a week since its launch, prompting a speedy season-two renewal.
"Making Cobra Kai has been a dream come true for us since day one," exec producers Heald, Hurwitz and Schlossberg said in a joint statement. "We are thankful for the tireless dedication of Jeff Frost, Chris Parnell, Jason Clodfelter, Karen Tatevosian, and all our partners at Sony for finding us a new home where we can not only continue the series, but also explore opportunities to further expand The Karate Kid universe. We are beyond excited to join our new partners at Netflix and look forward to the show reaching the massive global audience who loves this franchise as much as we do."
Cobra Kai is the latest series to get new life at Netflix. It joins Lucifer, Longmire, Designated Survivor and The Killing, among others.