9:57am PT by Michael O'Connell
Netflix Boss Confident About 6 Seasons of 'The Crown'
Two weeks after its launch, Netflix content boss Ted Sarandos seems extremely pleased with The Crown.
The pricey drama about the Queen Elizabeth II debuted to solid reviews on Nov. 4. And, speaking at a Thursday panel for nonprofit Visionary Women, Sarandos assured the room that the streamer would be airing the drama for the next decade.
"We're in production now on the second season," said Sarandos, appearing with Arrested Development collaborator Brian Grazer. "This is going to take Queen Elizabeth from age 29 to, presumably, the current day. We'll see it lay out over decades. We've seen a lot of things about Queen Elizabeth, but we've already learned more about her than we ever had by watching the first ten hours."
From royal family enthusiast Peter Morgan, who previous chronicled her majesty in The Queen, The Crown was eyed as a long-running series from the start — perhaps why Netflix ponied up north of $100 million for the first two seasons. "It's a crazy idea to come in with a 60-hour pitch," Sarandos continued. "The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show over eight to 10 years."
Sarandos' eagerness to give the green light was a recurring theme in the conversation. He and Grazer also spoke about the pitch process and Sarandos' particular reluctance to turn people down.
"Most people in town spend all day saying no, and I try to figure out how to say yes," said Sarandos. "I want them all to work when they come in. When I'm watching a TV show or a movie, I never walk out or turn it off — no matter how bad. I think I'm waiting for the good part."
Netflix's widely reported spending spree was an obvious undertone of the conversation as well. The $6 billion (and growing) commitment for original programming is going to lead to more and more niche shows. Sarandos pointed to senior-centric comedy Grace and Frankie as one area where Netflix had been underserving a segment of its existing (and potential) subscribership.
"If you have a global business, like Netflix, little niches can be big business," he added. "Our shows just have to work eventually. "